There is no exam easier than a Covid test. You don’t have to know algebra or when the British were kicked out of India. You don’t have to get your urine in a cup too small for the rate of flow. For the lucky few who haven’t needed one yet, a Covid test consists of a cotton swab pushed less than half an inch into your nostril, swirled around for 10 seconds, and then repeated on the other side. The swab goes in a test tube, is sent to a lab, and in 24-36 hours the PCR results are in.
Covid vaccines aren’t any more difficult unless you have a really messed up immune system or suffer from trypanophobia. A quick stick in your arm, a 15-minute wait to check for an allergic reaction, and you’re on your way. Two weeks later you repeat the process. That’s all it takes. Perhaps you’re unfortunate enough to have some side effects, but better that than intubation, lingering health effects, or death.
The lengths to which people will go to avoid even the simplest of public health responsibilities boggle the mind. I know of one person in my organization who argued their “sincerely held religious beliefs” precluded them not only from getting vaccinated but also from testing. According to them, Jesus — and it was definitely Jesus because it’s always Jesus — didn’t want them swabbing the inside of their nostril, a task their finger accomplishes every day. They were willing to risk their employment, health insurance, and general well-being to avoid a weekly covid test. I thought this would be the most ridiculous stance I’d hear in at least a month. But then there are these dummies.
First, San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane was suspended for presenting a fake Covid vaccination card.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — The NHL has suspended San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane for 21 games for submitting a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) October 18, 2021
The suspension is for the next 21 games, and in that time he’ll forfeit nearly 2 million dollars in pay. Kane stated “I made a mistake, one I sincerely regret and take responsibility for. During my suspension, I will continue to participate in counseling to help me make better decisions in the future. When my suspension is over, I plan to return to the ice with great effort, determination, and love for the game of hockey.” Translation “I didn’t think I’d get caught, I did, and now I’m out 2 million dollars. Next time I’ll use a better fake.” Kane has a history of dumb and criminal behavior, like allegedly betting on his own games and assaulting his wife.
Then a few hours later Washington State University fired head football coach Nick Rolovich and four assistants for refusing to abide by the school’s Covid policy.
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — AP source: Washington State has fired football coach Nick Rolovich for refusing state's vaccination mandate.— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 19, 2021
Like many schools with a lick of sense, WSU requires covid vaccinations for any staff or faculty without a medical or religious exemption. Rolovich, who initially said he would get vaccinated, later refused on religious grounds and filed for an exemption. His request was denied during a blind review. All five coaches lose their salaries and likely a hefty benefits package. For Rolovich, with an annual salary of $3 million and a contract that ran through 2025, that means a total of $12 million over the next 4 years. Knowing higher education and their terror of lawsuits as I do, I have to imagine all Rolovich had to do was demonstrate he attended a church with a belief system that precluded vaccination. WSU no doubt walked on eggshells to avoid this confrontation, but Rolovich refused to take his department and team’s health seriously. This is the result. I’m genuinely impressed WSU actually let him go.
Odds are good no one learned a thing. Rolovich will undoubtedly be snatched up by a school with more money than sense and may take his assistant coaches with him. It is at best a temporary inconvenience, but better that than nothing.
I spent enough decades living paycheck to paycheck that I’m astonished people threw away millions of dollars to avoid a vaccine proven effective against the deadliest widespread viral infection in a century — Rolovich through sheer stubbornness, and Kane via an actual criminal act; forging a vaccination card is a federal felony. No word on whether his fake card looked real or was drawn in crayon on the back of a diner menu. Given the intelligence of the person involved, it could go either way.
No employment, no benefits, no paycheck. Costly and public embarrassment. All to avoid a routine medical procedure tolerated by small children and senior citizens every day of the week.
Image sources (in order of posting): Getty Images: Brandon Magnus, Jonathan Devich