DB: Plenty of highly produced primetime segments attempting to hammer home the ugly reality of COVID-19 have aired over the past year and a half. Plenty of public officials have pleaded, and reasoned and asked nicely. We’ve heard from people who, through no fault of their own, have suffered COVID-related catastrophe due to the actions of others.
We’ve heard from people who, completely because of their own negligence, have suffered the effects of COVID and wish they could undo it. There is a vaccine for the disease widely available, at no cost to anybody living in this country who chooses to get it. And yet, the pandemic persists. Perhaps it’s time for some new public messaging.
We can—and should—go further. It’s time for public health vaccine messaging to focus less on what getting jabbed means for society, and more on what not getting vaccinated can mean for individuals. In other words, it’s time to get disgusting. Anti-smoking campaigns and anti-drug campaigns have used upsetting medical descriptions and imagery in public service announcements. Why not go there with COVID?
On the Reddit forum r/nursing, there are no reporters in full hair and makeup standing with a hospital in the background; the real horror of COVID is in clear, grotesque focus. Nurses trade stories of COVID patients with maggots in their sinus cavities, of something called “COVID poop” which apparently causes sores for some patients on ventilators, of unvaccinated COVID-positive pregnant women who go into labor prematurely while intubated and die before they meet their infants—who now have to spend time in the NICU for a completely preventable reason.