Mary Mallon (aka Typhoid Mary) was born in Ireland in 1869, presumably with typhoid because her mother was infected during her pregnancy. She immigrated to the United States at age 15 and began, wittingly or unwittingly, infecting people around her with typhoid. At the time the concept of “asymptomatic carrier” was unknown to the medical field, and it was only after an exhaustive epidemiological investigation spanning five years that she was finally identified as a person who had infected many dozens of people, several of whom died. Her refusal to cooperate with public health authorities eventually led to long periods of forced quarantine and ultimately earned her the nickname ” Typhoid Mary “.
Fast forward 100 or so years and enter Wisconsin’s getting-dumber-by-the-minute Senator Ron ” Covid Ronnie “Johnson.
While it’s unclear how many people Johnson may have infected with Covid-19 last Fall, it’s pretty clear that for months he’s been steadily infecting the public discourse with a combination of misinformation and murky fear mongering about the effort to vaccinate our way out of the pandemic. Last December Johnson used his position as Chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to host a panel of physicians and academics touting the use of ivermectin as both treatment and prophylaxis regarding Covid-19. A Wisconsin physician, Pierre Kory, basically called it a miracle drug at that hearing, though the research manuscript Kory referenced at the hearing has since been deemed unreliable by the NIH which stated that most of the studies claiming the benefits of ivermectin contain ” “incomplete information and significant methodological limitations, which make it difficult to exclude common causes of bias.”
Not content to simply champion an unproven ” miracle” drug, Johnson has since gone on to become one of the nation’s top vaccine skeptics. A couple of weeks ago he wondered aloud at the urgency behind the effort to vaccinate all Americans, and just a few days ago he ratcheted up the fear mongering by spouting false numbers of vaccine related deaths and suggesting, with zero evidence, that the vaccine could be dangerous to people who’ve already been infected.
Johnson’s recklessness comes at a particularly precarious moment. The AP reported just a couple of days ago that multiple states are scaling back their vaccine requests due to low demand, with Wisconsin requesting just 8% of our 162,000 dose allotment for this week even though less than 50% of Wisconsinites have been vaccinated. Not good.
While we can’t indefinitely quarantine Covid Ronnie, such as was done with Typhoid Mary, aren’t there some responsible republicans out there who can convince him to shut his damn mouth? Mitch McConnell actually made himself useful several weeks ago when he said all republican men should get vaccinated. Mitch, can you lock Covid Ronnie in his Senate office for a couple of months and shut-off his wifi? Please?