I am so over COVID-19 anti-vaxxers and their enablers.

A digital sign in the local hospital, where I was picking up medications from the pharmacy, informed me that 92 percent of people currently hospitalized there for COVID are unvaccinated. 

Earlier, at my annual check-up, the nurse hacked her brains out. I looked at her… at the tiny room’s closed door… back at her… Both of us were wearing masks, but still.

“Don’t worry,” she said – the eyes above my mask must’ve exposed my discomfort – “I’m vaccinated.” 

Asymptomatic spreader? Any of this ah-ringin’ a bell?

“I already had COVID, too.”

Nope. Still not comforted.

Perhaps my eyes were no longer adequately conveying disquiet. 

She plowed ahead.

Her fiancé, who lives with the nurse and her two young children, doesn’t “believe in” masks or getting vaxxed, she explained.

92% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients unvaccinated.

Apparently she accepted that. And him. She tip-toed over that part, but…

Of course he got COVID. Of course he gave it to her. Of course her kids got it.

“My daughter’s symptoms weren’t bad,” she said with a nervous chuckle, “but me and my son were, like, on our death beds.” 


Yeah, not funny.

She should have kicked the covidiot out. Instead she and her kids got the life-threatening virus he carried. He’s still living in the house, she divulged, without saying so specifically.

I remind myself that one doesn’t always know everything, if much of anything, about another’s circumstances, and there’s usually a whole lot more than going on than one sees. I get that. Still, all things being equal, and considering just this one thing, yeah, his ass should have been on the street.

Cough-cough-cough… snapped me back from the reverie.

Oh yeah – she hasn’t had her booster yet, either; the 90-day waiting period isn’t up yet, she said.

Which means this nurse didn’t get vaccinated until at least the 18th month of the pandemic, and at least 10 months after vaccines became available to medical professionals.

Sanford Health announced a requirement for employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in July, but workers didn’t need to prove it until November 1. Which makes me wonder – did the nurse get the shot because she experienced COVID firsthand or because it was a requirement for her continued employment?


Maybe you need a cough drop or something…? I offered. 


“Nah,” she said, “it’s just the dry air.”


At least the nurse is vaccinated now, and at least she’s planning on getting the booster. Even so, I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

But where was I headed? Into a community where, despite the exponential spread of the Omicron variant across the country, the majority of people aren’t wearing masks. I’m guessing at least 65 percent, which would match the percentage of North Dakotans that voted Trump in 2020.


Because, you know…


Funny, I thought sarcastically as I passed through the clinic’s exit doors, no definition of freedom I’ve ever seen mentions the right to harm others.

Yeah. Not funny at all.

Featured illustration by Gregory Grinnell/Northeastern University

Martin C. Fredricks IV

Martin C. “Red” Fredricks IV here. I’m husband to an amazing woman who is also my best friend, dad to three outstanding kids, Fargoan (North Dakota, that is), proud introvert, veteran messaging strategist/copywriter, blogger (https://ivwords.com) nonprofit founder (https://theclimateknights.org/) and big-time reader. As they say, if you're gonna write good stuff, you have to read good stuff. A ginger, too - ergo the "Red" - although some of it's going white. Cinnamon-Sugar, I call it. Tattooed to boot; seven so far. At age 54, I'm stilling crankin' AC/DC & Metallica, but now and again I spin some Eric Church and Black Uhuru, too. I love hanging out with my (much) better half, spending time with our kids, writing, hiking, riding my mountain bike and reading.


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