Community perspective: what the Danes could teach us | Letters


Shyrel Ritter, a certified nursing assistant at Hebrew Home in Riverdale, New York, receives his COVID-19 booster injection on Monday at his workplace. All New York state healthcare workers in hospitals and nursing homes were to be vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Monday.

Seth Wenig, Associated Press

Edward F. Palm

Move on, Shakespeare. There is nothing rotten in Denmark these days. My wife and I have good friends there and they tell us that life in Denmark is pretty much back to normal. All of their COVID restrictions and rules have been lifted. This is because 86 percent of Danes are now fully vaccinated. Like us, Denmark has its vaccine refractories, but they are mostly found among their island immigrant population. And unlike us, their hospitals aren’t overwhelmed by a resurgence of COVID cases.

Credit the community spirit and sense of civic responsibility of the Danish people for this development. Specifically, Danes are generally well educated and 90 percent trust their medical authorities and government. For better or worse, only 20% of Americans trust our government. And certainly for the worse, only 55% of us are now fully immunized. If Biden’s vaccine mandates hold, we could reach 80% by the end of the year. But with so many Americans still standing on their right to remain anti-science and anti-social, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Meanwhile, more than 2,000 Americans die from COVID every day. Credit the American spirit of robust individualism for this grim statistic.

I understand that Americans by nature are suspicious of authorities and intellectuals. To a certain extent, this is a good thing. But I recently heard a right-wing radio host warn his audience that medical and scientific experts are using their credentials as “clubs” to stifle dissent and force submission. The point is that half-baked, “just say” suspicions and opinions trump education, experience and expertise. Maybe a good dose of humility would open the minds of our anti-vaccines.


About Wanda Dufresne

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