CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — One doctor says it’s time for Americans to stop shaming the unvaccinated, partly because it’s simply unproductive at this point in the pandemic.
“It’s absolutely disgusting,” said Dr. Ron Elfenbein, the medical director and CEO of FirstCall Medical Center, in Gambrills, Maryland. Elfenbein, who appeared on “The Donlon Report” on Tuesday, said although unvaccinated people infected with the coronavirus were much more likely to be hospitalized or die or COVID-19, it still doesn’t give people the right to mock their deaths.
“I mean, do you blame a fat person for getting a heart attack or a stroke? Because they’re overweight? I mean, you know, are you gonna laugh at them because they are in the emergency room crushing their chest? I mean, it’s disgusting.”
Elfenbein’s reactions come as a new opinion piece from The Los Angeles Times mocking the deaths of the unvaccinated is making the rounds on social media. Elfenbein said getting vaccinated should be up to the individual, not the public’s opinion.
“They made a choice, for whatever reason, and it’s none of my business or your business, why they chose not to get vaccinated,” he said. “So, you know, at the end of the day, if they’re succumbing to this virus, it’s a tragedy. And I just think it’s horrific that somebody would laugh and mock them because they’re dying.”
The U.S. has reached a new milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks in part to the omicron variant. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this month’s total of 142,388 hospitalizations so far has already passed the number from a year ago. U.S. health officials Tuesday also reported 1.34 million new cases of COVID-19, the county’s highest daily number throughout the entire pandemic, according to a Reuters tally.
Elfenbein believes President Joe Biden’s “pandemic of the unvaccinated” message is prolonging the pandemic because it’s not encouraging people to go get the vaccine. He also said it’s irrelevant now because more vaccinated people are now testing positive for the virus.
“You’re just as likely to catch … omicron without being vaccinated as if you were vaccinated.”
But he did reiterate the “significant difference” between the unvaccinated and vaccinated in terms of the severity of COVID-19.
“The FDA and the CDC was very, very clear from the very beginning,” he said. “When they first started this under Operation Warp Speed, that the goal of this vaccine was not to keep people from catching the virus but to keep people from dying from the virus and or being hospitalized. Those two things have gone down with the efficacy of the vaccine, but it is still pretty good at keeping you from dying and or being hospitalized. So your best chance of surviving this, if you are high risk, is to get vaccinated,” including the booster shot.
Many hospitals are not only swamped with cases but severely shorthanded because of so many employees out with COVID-19. Some states are allowing health care workers with mild or no symptoms to keep treating patients rather than isolate them. Elfenbein said there is a reason why this works.
“If you have COVID but you don’t necessarily have any symptoms or very mild symptoms, as a health care provider, there’s really no reason you can’t go in there and help these people.”
He said the problem is that these hospitals are telling workers that they can go back immediately, not giving them any downtime to recover from the virus.
“The problem is … they’re going into the main entrance of the hospital, they’re going to the same coffee shops as everybody else … using the same restrooms as everybody else. So I can guarantee you that they’re spreading COVID.”
He also said hospital workers choosing to be unvaccinated are also being punished.
“The mainstream media and a lot of people are making people out to be psychos if they choose not to get vaccinated, but that’s not always the case.”