We are No. 1, but not in a good way.

According to various credible sources, Missouri has the highest rate of COVID-19 cases per 100,000.

This has not escaped the notice of the national news media. The CEO of Mercy Hospital Springfield was interviewed by a reporter from “PBS NewsHour.” That Southwest Missouri is under siege by the coronavirus was the subject of an Associated Press article.

As a Missourian, a survivor of COVID-19 (Globe, April 26) and one who has received Moderna vaccinations, I can speak and write with some firsthand experience. I spent about three weeks in the intensive care unit of our local hospital. Apparently, I was near death, but I was blissfully unaware of this, being in a coma. Then I spent a couple of months in a post-acute facility, discharged when I walked a quarter-mile unaided.

Mercy and CoxHealth hospitals in Springfield, according to all reports, are at capacity in their ICUs and are sending patients to St. Louis and Kansas City. However, the number of new cases in those cities is rising, as is the number of new cases in Columbia. Statewide, the number of new cases of COVID-19 is rising dramatically.

Joplin and Jasper County are not exempt.

The reason for the ICUs being overrun is simple — the CEO of Mercy Hospital Springfield estimated that 95% of the COVID-19 patients in the ICU were unvaccinated. Repeat: 95% of COVID-19 ICU cases were unvaccinated.

It is not a secret that the Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca vaccinations are extremely effective in warding off the coronavirus.

So why are so many unvaccinated? Misinformation.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is one of the leading vaccine opponents. I have known Bobby for years, and he even wrote the foreword for one of my books. But, in his crusade against coronavirus vaccinations, he is completely wrong. He and other vaccine opponents spout a lot of misinformation. (The companies that profit from misinformation should be ignored.)

While listing all of the misinformation would take up this entire newspaper, a few of the more common are, with my responses:

Vaccinations are of unproven benefits. Response: So we are to wait a long time while studies are conducted to determine what will happen in the future? What happens while we wait?

Vaccinations are a plot by the federal government to follow us by implanting a microchip along with the medicine. Response: If you have a cellphone, the government can already follow you. Besides, there is simply no evidence that this claim is true.

Vaccinations make a person magnetic. Response: This claim has no merit and is laughable.

Vaccinations are all a vast conspiracy by the vaccination companies and the federal government. Response: Conspiracy to do what? This undocumented claim sounds like a QAnon theory and should best be ignored, even if Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham of Fox News have jumped on the QAnon wagon. Drug companies and the U.S. government are enemies, not allies.

There are many other items of misinformation, but they all have one thing in common: They are unproven and are based on nothing but fear.

As one who has survived COVID-19 and two Moderna vaccinations, I have no lingering impacts.

According to medical scientists, some people who have been hospitalized because of COVID-19 do have long-term problems: hallucinations, “brain fog,” lung capacity reduction, and various other physical and mental disabilities, but I do not.

Bottom line: Ignore all the blathering and misinformation and get vaccinated, otherwise, you may find yourself in a hospital in St. Louis or Kansas City.

Ken Midkiff lives in Columbia and writes occasional columns for the Globe.

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