Right-wing elected officials and media personalities have likened public safety guidelines to offset the spread of COVID-19 to the Holocaust, to the Taliban, and to Jim Crow. Meanwhile, they've likened COVID-19 itself—which has killed nearly one million Americans—to largely mitigated viruses like the flu and common cold.
Far-right Congresswoman Lauren Boebert of Colorado became the latest Republican to advance this line of thinking, comparing the deadly virus to mere allergies in an ill-advised tweet.
It was a veiled derision regarding the effectiveness of lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines.
As allergy season gets underway, I encourage everyone to take their allergy medicines so that my allergy medicines can work.
You know, it doesn’t work unless everyone takes it.
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) March 23, 2022
Republicans like Boebert have pointed to breakthrough COVID-19 infections in vaccinated people as evidence that vaccines don't work, though unvaccinated people 12 years and older were 3.5 times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 and 20 times more likely to die from it as recently as this past January, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What's more, Boebert is apparently unaware that allergies, unlike viruses, aren't highly contagious. Allergic reactions are caused by an individual's immune system response to a foreign substance in the body that it erroneously recognizes as harmful.
Back in early 2019, before the COVID-19 threat was fully realized, the Mayo Clinic highlighted the differences between viruses and allergies, writing:
"Colds are due to viruses, which are contagious. They’re often spread by someone who sneezes or coughs, or by hand shaking and other direct physical contact. After a couple weeks, your immune system fights off the infection and your symptoms usually resolve.
Allergies are due to an immune reaction to something in the environment. Often, this includes dust or pollen. This causes the body to release histamine, just as it would with a cold, which causes nasal congestion, sneezing and coughing. Allergies are not contagious."
Boebert's inept comparisons were quickly—and mercilessly—corrected by social media users.
Today our word of the day is CONTAGIOUS.
Definition of contagious:
“transmissible by direct or indirect contact with an infected person”https://t.co/FtjrMkGkmw https://t.co/iP0TDdBABx
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) March 24, 2022
Lauren Boebert believes 1) allergens are viral, 2) allergies are contagious, 3) Mister Ed really talked. https://t.co/w0bUZcW5h5
— Adam Godfrey (@adamfgodfrey) March 24, 2022
Allergies aren't contagious. https://t.co/z0PUr7Pjec
— KETANJI BROWN JACKSON’S BURNER ACCOUNT (@goldietaylor) March 24, 2022
How willfully ignorant does someone have to be to not understand the difference between *contagious* disease and seasonal allergies, 2 years into a pandemic which has killed 6 million people? https://t.co/jNkxGPQZFX
— iRational (@I_Love_Pi_73) March 24, 2022
Republicans don't know that seasonal allergies aren't contagious. https://t.co/3rqCyLtWIC
— bumpkins (@bumpkinsTV) March 24, 2022
Contagious. Allergies, unlike viruses, are not contagious.
What does seem to be contagious, among GOP lawmakers anyway, is intentional ugly-hearted stupidity. https://t.co/aG5VipyTlO
— Gloria Bernstein G-Train (@GloriaBB2) March 24, 2022
They weren't shy about mocking Boebert's intelligence.
It would be so great for this country if we didn’t have elected officials who were this stunningly stupid. https://t.co/C05R5g4anN
— Richard Marx (@richardmarx) March 24, 2022
It’s amazing that you can even breathe consistently with so few brain cells. https://t.co/nBiDnKcH7j
— Elizabeth Spiers (@espiers) March 24, 2022
Reading Lauren Boebert’s tweets makes you dumber but feel smarter. https://t.co/zyNiJ3OfJB
— Windsor Mann (@WindsorMann) March 24, 2022
Boebert, like all members of the House of Representatives, is up for reelection in 2022.