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Editorial: Goldschmidt and Arenado embrace quackery in decision not to get vaccinated

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Coronavirus and travel

There’s nothing new about sports stars preening and prancing and doing everything they can to selfishly draw attention to themselves while they’re supposedly trying to uplift their team. Selfishness in professional sports is almost to be expected. Ignorance is not. Two All Star St. Louis Cardinals players, Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, are opting against coronavirus vaccination — not out of principle or a special medical need but out of plain ol’ selfish stubbornness.

The Cards are in Toronto for two games at a time when the team needs all the wins they can get, and Canada correctly imposes a ban on foreigners who aren’t vaccinated. That means Goldschmidt and Arenado have to stay home. The choice is entirely theirs, and it is entirely based on misinformation and ignorance about vaccines certified by the Food and Drug Administration as safe and effective.

Doubters need only look at the death statistics before and after the coronavirus vaccines were introduced. An estimated 1.9 million American lives have been saved by the vaccines. Skeptics might point to the fact that President Joe Biden has been vaccinated and twice boosted, and yet he tested positive last week. Perhaps they should consider how minor his symptoms were and how quickly he recovered in contrast to the near-death experience of then-President Donald Trump, who was infected before vaccines were available. Vaccines work not only to fend off infection but to help minimize the symptoms if infection does occur.

But Goldschmidt and Arenado would rather rely on quacks and radio hosts for their advice. “Over the last year-plus, I’ve tried to talk to as many doctors and many medical professionals as I could and figured out as much as I could. I just decided the potential risks outweighed the potential benefits,” Goldschmidt told reporters.

Nearly 223 million people in America are now fully vaccinated. Whatever adverse reactions they might have suffered, including irritability, a sore arm and a day’s worth of discomfort, somehow in Goldschmidt’s mind outweigh the risk — including death — of not getting vaccinated. The doctors he’s talking to need to step forward and share why they’re more expert than the thousands of doctors and scientists who tested and retested the vaccines for months before approving them for public use.

As if to underscore the flimsy rationale behind their decision, Arenado conceded that he would consider getting vaccinated if the Cardinals and Blue Jays wound up in the World Series — meaning required travel to Toronto. If “what was standing between me and the playoffs was this vaccine, I would consider getting it,” he said.

Protest as they do that their decisions are personal, these two athletes are, like tennis star Novak Djokovic, role models whose decisions massively influence the general public’s choices. There’s a name for those who sit at home and wallow in ignorance instead of doing what’s best for their team: Losers.

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