I am baffled by the hysterical campaign against those leading the fight against Covid

I listened to doctors and scientists. I didn’t look for advice from people with no scientific or medical expertise

The aim of some people is to defeat not the pandemic itself but those who are leading the fight against it

The aim of some people is to defeat not the pandemic itself but those who are leading the fight against it

 

I have to confess that I am baffled by the continuing and increasingly hysterical campaign against the doctors and scientists who are leading the fight against the Covid pandemic.

Thankfully, it is a campaign involving a small, if vociferous, minority. The extraordinary thing is that they are using science, in the form of the internet, to spread their dangerous ideas.

Covid has thrown up a lot of surprises. Some people have been beyond kind to the sick, the elderly and all those in need of a little bit of consideration at what is a difficult time.

But sadly, consideration is a word whose meaning seems to be lost on many.

Their aim is to defeat not the pandemic itself but those who are leading the fight against it.

Scientists are making up the figures, they say. They’re trying to run our lives. It’s worse than Germany in 1933. We’re turning into a totalitarian state. The vaccine will kill us all. They’re after our children.

I’m not at all sure what motivates these people who express their views on various social media sites which know more about them than governments ever will.

But let me just tell you why I will listen to Nphet and NIAC and the HSE rather than a bunch of people who don’t seem to be qualified to give me, or anyone else, advice on a pandemic.

I have history with doctors and scientists. That history begins back in 1997 when I went to seek a second opinion about what I thought was my psoriasis. I had for years rubbed those red blotches on my body with various creams recommended to me by, well, people in bars and such like.

I was with the new doctor for about five minutes, I think, when she told me she wanted by skin biopsied. A biopsy, I thought, for psoriasis? What’s that about?

Well, what it was about was Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma. Because that is what was causing the red botches on my skin. Not psoriasis. Blood cancer. Science said so.

Various treatments

For several years I underwent various treatments, all with a basis in science and all of which worked for a while.

Photopheresis, for example, which – at the time – required visits to the City Hospital in Belfast every three weeks. There my blood was treated with a medication called 8-methoxypsoralen and was subjected to UV light.

That was fine for a few years. And then, like many medications, my body became so used to it it stopped working.

Next came full body radiation treatment, also in Belfast. It wasn’t very pleasant. But it too worked for a while.

I was receiving what was the best available treatment at the time.

There followed a couple of years of treatment with a drug called Targretin. It worked too. But I still flinch when I remember being told what it cost.

Other treatments followed. One which didn’t work – for me – was an experimental drug which I agreed to take a) in the hope that it would work, and b) because I was told they needed volunteers to try it.

Ultimately I received a bone marrow transplant. Few had received a transplant for the particular lymphoma I had. But the science was advancing all the time. So my doctor was able to recommend it for me, and I listened. When you’re chronically ill it’s something you learn to do.

Transplant

Now, no matter what happens, I know that transplant has given me 13 years of life, 13 years with my family and now teenage daughter, 13 years of books and music and gigs.

This all happened because I listened to doctors and scientists. I didn’t look for advice from people with no scientific or medical expertise.

I don’t ask doctors or scientists to fix my car or repair my plumbing. I prefer to get experts in those areas to do those jobs.

And so I listened to people who knew what they were talking about.

And I’m doing the same with Covid.

I’m listening to the scientists. And yes, of course I know they’re not infallible.

But having been kept alive and (relatively) well for 23 years through science and medicine, I don’t think I’ll be asking doctors or scientists to pull my pint or fix my car. But I do think I’ll take more notice of advice from them ahead of the self-appointed experts whose opinions we hear far too often these days.

And I’d like everyone to do the same.

Not so much to save yourself.

But to save everyone else.

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