Virus deniers and anti-vaxxers could threaten effective fight against the novel coronavirus, as well as increase the exposure of risked groups to COVID-19, health experts say.
The growing numbers of virus deniers could have serious consequences when it comes to respiratory diseases, like COVID-19, Ferenc Jakab, the director of the virus laboratory at Szentágothai János Research Institute, has said.
“Many people don’t take the protective measures seriously, they don’t wear masks and don’t socially distance themselves. They don’t believe that low numbers are the result of disciplined and strict measures put in place, but that instead there’s no virus at all and the government uses it to generate panic” – pointed out Jakab. These people are more harmful to society – due to their refusal to follow guidelines, they risk the health of the whole community. An example of this could be an infected virus denier using public transport without a mask, then sneezing and infecting the whole bus.
He also talked about anti-vaxxers, who pose another possible threat. ‘Without vaccines, polio, variola and measles would still kill thousands of people. If anti-vaxxers are getting more and more popular, it is dangerous for society as a whole on a long-term basis, not only during the fight against COVID-19.’
János Szlávik, Chief of Medicine at the Infectological Department at South-Pest Centrum Hospital also stressed that coronavirus is dangerous and not a simple flu, as many deniers state. He encouraged younger people to follow the guidelines whenever they can, in order to slow down and prevent infections.
The numbers in Hungary and worldwide are growing. As of now, the second wave in our country has a lower death rate, but it is mainly because the average age of the infected is 26 – thus younger generations have better chances of fighting the virus. Also, communal spreading is dominant – young people spent the summer at parties, weddings and pubs, increasing the number of those they came in contact with. Thus, the virus started to spread more quickly.
Following government guidelines, social-distancing, wearing masks, washing hands frequently and avoiding public spaces when one experiences symptoms is key to fight the virus and not to spread it to groups at risk, who have a lower chance of fighting it.
In the featured photo illustration: coronavirus deniers’ demonstration in Zagreb. Photo by MTI/AP