People lie about having had COVID-19 to avoid wearing a mask – opinion

The quickest way to discover that they are lying about their antibodies is to ask them what their count was.

A protective face mask is seen as curbs to fight the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been reimposed after a rise in new cases, at Zikim beach in southern Israel July 21, 2020. Picture taken July 21, 2020. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
A protective face mask is seen as curbs to fight the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been reimposed after a rise in new cases, at Zikim beach in southern Israel July 21, 2020. Picture taken July 21, 2020.
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
For years, the most common of all lies, the most often told lie, was “the check is in the mail.”
Then we entered the technology age and parents of any teenager will tell you that the most told lie in the world became “If you’re over 18 click here.”
Today, in the throes of the pandemic of 2020, the two most common lies in my world – and probably in yours, are intertwined. The first big lie is, “I had COVID.” The second is, “I have antibodies.” I hear the arguments from people who don’t want to wear a mask in synagogue.
People tell these lies to bolster a claim that they can neither give nor get COVID. Claims that any serious doctor will tell you are incorrect. For those who never had COVID or never tested for antibodies, the statements are not only incorrect, they are also lies. The reason they feel compelled to make these claims is because, plain and simple, it’s easier to put it that way than to just say, “I don’t want to wear a mask” or “I don’t like wearing a mask.”
The quickest way to discover that they are lying about their antibodies is to ask them what their count was. Most people haven’t even gone to the trouble of researching what an antibody count should be for COVID. Just as they are too lazy to wear a mask, they are too lazy to do the research that would bolster their claim. It’s not that they don’t believe that masks are helpful or preventive or necessary – those people have facts and figures to support their opinion. It’s just that they feel masks to be cumbersome and uncomfortable. Which, I admit, they are.
There is a massive amount of misinformation about COVID and the reality is that the information is changing quickly. Things that were assumed to be factual several months ago are not true today. Each day scientists learn more about this virus. Sometimes, new information builds on previously learned information, other times, new knowledge disputes what we once thought to be true.
A few months ago we all believed that once you got COVID, you could never contract it again. Today, unfortunately, scientists know that to be false. But some people – too many people, do not want to face the facts.
An acquaintance who was not wearing a mask told me that his doctor told him that he can neither give nor get COVID because he had it. In fact, he had a bad case of COVID. He was hospitalized for weeks and now, a month later, he is still weak. He said that his doctor told him not to pay attention to the Internet and the stories he heard. I wanted to tell him to change doctors, but instead, I suggested that he speak to another of our mutual acquaintances.
I wanted him to speak to someone whose brother, in Jerusalem, got COVID in April. A man in his 40s, he was hospitalized and put on a ventilator. Thankfully, he recovered. And then several weeks ago, in October, he got COVID again. This time, he was put on an ECOMO machine.
ECOMO stands for Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation. It is a machine that is brought into use when someone has heart and lung failure. It is used during heart surgery. Doctors connect the patient to ECMO during the procedure and repair heart. The machine breaths for the patient, pumps their blood and provides air for their body.
If you are on an ECMO you are in bad shape. If you have COVID and are on ECMO, it is a last resort. There is nothing more, to date, that medical science can do for you.
Thankfully, in this case, the patient recovered. He was released from the hospital before Shabbat and allowed to be at home with his family before going to a rehab facility on Sunday.
The non-mask wearer did not believe what he heard. Not a word of it. He said it wasn’t true. Nothing could convince them that this man’s brother had COVID a second time and that when you get COVID a second time, it is a more severe case.
This was not a single incident. The Internet is full of stories of people who have contracted COVID twice. In October, for example, the medical journal Lancet published a confirmed case of a patient in Nevada. The article suggests that this patient was struck by a variant form of COVID.
That makes sense. Nine months after we first realized the dangers of the coronavirus, we are learning about more and more cases of people getting it a second time. There is a full-blown debate among experts as to how long antibodies will protect someone after they have had COVID.
Some say as long as a year. Other experts give it six months. But most experts admit, and this is the most honest answer of all, that they simply do not know. They guess that a person is probably safe for about three months. The medical world is doing a lot of educated guessing when it comes to COVID and one day we might have recognized scientific data proving that masks did nothing to protect us. But we are not now at that point.
What puzzles me the most about people who say that they had COVID and then refuse to wear a mask is this: If you had it, if you suffered through this awful virus, wouldn’t you want to do everything you could to spare someone else the suffering? Something as simple as wearing a mask?!
The writer is a columnist and a social and political commentator. Watch his new TV show Thinking Out Loud on JBS and read his latest book THUGS. He maintains The Micah Report.


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