Many In The Area Embrace QAnon & Deny Science

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Watch Out! Covid-19 Vaccine Is Scarce & Residents Are Behaving Badly

US Senator Dick Durbin hosts a virtual press conference on Friday, January 29, 2021.
US Senator Dick Durbin hosts a virtual press conference on Friday, January 29, 2021.

(JERSEYVILLE) - The signs literally have been around for months. Misinformation and lack of information everywhere you look. Trump flags and disparaging yard signs about the governor. A local publication running a story that becomes an almost glowing travelogue piece about a couple that went to Washington, D.C. to attend a "Save America" rally. The story includes a photo of the female of the couple smiling and not masked as she is surrounded by thousands of others. No hard questions by the interviewer to the person being quoted about what occurred near and in the Capitol building and exactly what kind of truthful information was found during their travels that differed from vetted information from truthful media outlets. The story shows how divided we have become and refuse to see and accept many things, namely an election.

The story read in part, "The rally took place a mile and a half west at the White House, where President Donald Trump and others continued to criticize the results of the election, claiming fraud and calling on legislators to vote against confirming President-elect Joe Biden. But these texts only left Mueller confused. She, like the other supporters of President Donald Trump she went with, was in the nation’s capital specifically for that rally, but the images she witnessed personally were not of violence but of peaceful protest. Mueller had a different perspective of the events of that day. For her, the day was peaceful as all of the other events she attended were. It further reads, “As the speaking concluded, we stood at the base of the Washington Monument soaking in the breathtaking sea of flags that were making their way to begin the March to the US Capitol,” she said.

And as they are in full view of the violent attempted takeover of the Capitol, the story continues, "They then received word that Vice President Mike Pence had refused to overturn the election, defying the wishes of the president, a hope of his supporters to stop the certification of the election.

“We were crushed but still hopeful Congress would pull this through for America,” she said.

This was around the time she started getting word of the attack on the Capitol.

“A friend began texting me with video clips of the Capitol breach,” she said. But the videos were nothing like what she was witnessing.

“All seemed calm, and there was no one scaling any walls,” she said. “Again, we were positioned directly in front of the US Capitol on the west side. Others around us were replaying the video clips watching in such confusion as it was not in any way a reality of what we were seeing in front of us.”

There were police cars aligned on the northeast side of the Capitol building when they arrived, which appeared to be parked along the roadway.

“We could witness the Capitol police standing along the balcony of the Capitol, and there didn’t appear to be any kind of emergency,” Mueller said.

The story continues with discussion of a trip to Mt. Rushmore, "It would be an experience that informed her perceptions of the media. “The atmosphere was very patriotic and emotions were felt by all surrounding us… I was given a lot of insight and information, and it became very clear why so many rally around this President so passionately,” she said. “Also, my eyes saw first hand how the media can spin a story to fit their narrative as we were getting inside information from those nearby the riots at Mt. Rushmore.” 

People appear to be searching for alternative facts to fit a narrative that somehow brings them understanding. Who do they choose to believe and why? 

Signs have been posted along IL Route 16 on property adjoining the Pearl Street Apartments referring people to a web site that hosts far right hate group and conspiracy theory videos.

A trip into any locally owned store will show you that many times few people take the wearing of a mask seriously. Gas station convenience stores, restaurants and bars (Some with live music.), Walmart and other retail stores refusing to comply or make customers comply with basic masking directives.

In a remote Zoom meeting last year, the Grafton mayor said he considers wearing a mask a "courtesy". He further suggested that if you aren't comfortable with how they do things in Grafton, don't go there.

If you attempt to call the Jersey County Health Department, you will get a recording telling you that they do not do Covid-19 testing and that you will need to call one of three other test providers of which only one is in Jersey County. If you try to continue with your call and contact the Covid-19 team, you will likely have your phone ring for three to four minutes before the call finally disconnects. If you attempt to use the department website, you will likely see that you can't register for a vaccination. It will tell you that for the latest information you should visit the department Facebook page or the Illinois Department of Public Health. Using Facebook as an official source of health information subjects the user to collection of identifiable data by Facebook with no other reasonable alternative as it seems that the latest vaccine shipment was allotted in a matter of minutes after the department posted a message on Facebook. A person with the department says no health information is at risk using Facebook but having the app on your phone subjects the user to data collection and sharing.

Now the signs are getting much worse. Because of rampant spread of an exceptionally infective virus, different strains are evolving that are even more infectious and deadly than the original that hit almost a year ago. Those that refuse to take precautions will help spread a virus that is at least twenty times more deadly that the seasonal flu and is mutating as it spreads. Government data shows that approximately one of every 1000 that flu infects will die. The less deadly Covid-19 strain kills approximately 2% of those infected in this state. According to recent data, the IDPH now says that over half of all Covid-19 infections are spread by people without any symptoms. The IDPH is warning to stay at least six feet way from people, wear a mask and wash your hands frequently. Some scientists are saying that double masking is sensible given what they see coming. The deadly consequences of this virus is not "fake news" that a former elected official said was under control and would disappear.

Residents should be cautious about not taking this virus deadly serious. As new strains start appearing, there is no guarantee that past infection offers much immunity to the new strain. This has become an obvious problem in Brazil and we are starting to see that strain here. The Brazilian city of Manaus is now the subject of many articles in the news and in scientific journals because of what they are experiencing. Just his week, The Lancet published a story about what is happening there. The story says that using donated blood sampling, it was estimated that approximately 76% of the population had been infected with Covid-19 in the early part of the pandemic. The infection numbers dropped for approximately seven months but now the virus has returned in an even more deadly form. Past infection seems to offer little defense and hospitals cannot handle the influx of patients. There are no ventilators and little or no oxygen is available to assist the infected. According to recent reports, the new P.1 Covid-19 variant overwhelmed the local healthcare system in less than 24 hours. It can happen here as well.

Illinois Senator Durbin held a virtual press conference Friday and addressed the Covid-19 issue with some sobering facts. Durbin said, "The previous administration with their "Warp Speed" program mobilized the researchers and scientists to come together with vaccine formulas that are working and that's good news, the bad news is they had no plan in place to distribute those across the United States and we're facing a frustration here in Illinois as many other states are, with shortage of vaccines and a limited number of opportunities for administering them.

I spoke to Governor Pritzker about this yesterday. Currently, we are receiving about 120,000 vaccinations a week in Illinois. That's going to go up slightly in the near future but those 120,000 are for a population of about 10 million people in our state who would be eligible to be vaccinated. We think 50% are ready to roll up their sleeves, they need two shots each so we're dealing with 10 million doses and 120,000 a week. If you do the math, you can understand that we are desperately trying to meet the goals even by the end of this year under the current circumstances."

Failure to rely on science and not wearing a mask poses a great risk for the entire community. Life will not go back to any semblance of pre-pandemic "normal" and many more lives will be lost as disbelievers and those that embrace conspiracy theories continue to spread misinformation and viral particles that harm the local community. This region is on track to see many more deaths with bank account draining hospitalizations and devastating business losses due to people that refuse to assist in scientific mitigation methods that stop the rapid viral spread and mutation.

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