“God has a special providence for fools, drunks, and the United States of America.”
~ Otto von Bismarck
Bismarck may have borrowed from the Frenchman Abbé Correa for his epigram on providence.
Only time will tell if citizens of the United States and Alabama are under some sort of divine providence, that would uniquely protect people from the consequences of potentially unsafe and unhealthy behavior during the Covid pandemic.
Many of the people in the United States who refused to be vaccinated for Covid-19 or to wear masks were certainly not idiots or drunkards. Some were sober as a judge and highly intelligent to boot. Any suggestion that anti-vaxxers were “idiots” often resulted in an accusation of “shaming.”
The outspoken basketball legend Charles Barkley expressed his incredulity over such behavior, as reported by AL.com‘s Dennis Pillion:
“Most of the fun places are locked down because of COVID,” Barkley said. “And you’ve got these idiots out here who don’t want to take the vaccine and who don’t want to wear a mask, and they’re out here getting people sick and killing people all over the country, and some of these countries won’t let you go there.”
Jay Reeves in the Washington Post reported on the Gulf Coast‘s “Redneck Riviera,” which was considered a “virus hot spot.” Reeves wrote that, regardless of the area’s high Covid infection rate, both servers and tourists were dancing on the tables at a restaurant located on the Gulf, “where beaches, bars and stores are packed.”
Eric Fleischauer in The Decatur Daily wrote that a health official in Cullman, Alabama, was concerned about the outcome of the potential COVID “superspreader” Rock the South event where thousands gathered on August 13 and 14th, 2021. He wrote:
“We are absolutely shivering in our boots,” Judy Smith, administrator of the Alabama Department of Public Health Northern District, said Monday. “We have great concern.”
A huge Trump Rally in Cullman was scheduled for the Saturday after Rock The South. Tyler Hanes in The Cullman Times wrote about the measures that were planned as a consequence of the rally. The Cullman City Council passed an state of emergency declaration, because of the overcrowding at Cullman Regional that was a result of the pandemic. The declaration “allowed the city to provide the additional personnel and equipment for this weekend’s political rally after it was requested by Cullman Regional.”
AL.com‘s Ramsey Archibald wrote on August 18, 2021, that Alabama was approaching all-time high for COVID hospitalizations.
AL.com‘s Leada Gore reported on August 19, 2021 that Alabama had overtaken Florida for the highest rate of children who had been hospitalized for Covid-19.
A revised estimate of hospitalizations had been made by the University of Alabama at Birmingham‘s professor of public health Suzanne Judd , as reported AL.com‘s Sarah Whites-Koditschek on August 19, 2021. Judd‘s earlier estimation of 7,800 hospitalizations by the end of the month had changed. “Alabama’s delta surge could peak in mid-September with 5,000 hospitalizations.”
UAB’s Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo said on CNN that 5,000 hospitalizations is a “potentially apocalyptic” scenario for the state, since about a third of unvaccinated patients hospitalized with the delta variant are requiring ICU beds. Already there are not enough available.
ICU beds in many Alabama hospitals are already full and hospitalizations are nearing last winter’s peak of 3,084. As of Wednesday, there were 2,723 COVID-19 hospitalizations in Alabama, overwhelming the state’s hospitals.
Al.com‘s Ben Flanagan interviewed sports writer Joseph Goodman for the podcast Outbreak Alabama. Goodman said:
“It is not your right to be able to walk into a stadium without a vaccine and endanger other people. That is not your right. That is not what civil liberties include. And I don’t care what silly state law Alabama politicians decide to pass so they can shill for votes in the upcoming election. The responsible thing to do is get a vaccine. And it is a privilege to go to a football game. It is not a right. In my opinion, if push comes to shove, the [SEC] schools should implement these vaccine passports.”
Goodman said that the requiring of such a vaccine passport would be unlikely. Perhaps having over a hundred thousand fans packed into Bryant Denny Stadium in T-Town for Crimson Tide home football games will be protected by divine providence?