Check Whose Privilege?

Last month I told you this was coming, and now, ardent readers, you may be satisfied.  

“’CommonPass,’ which at present offers travelers the possibility of carrying digital proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test, aims to include proof of vaccination when this becomes available, allowing passengers simply to cross borders and board commercial flights by letting a QR code be scanned on their personal mobile phone.”

And now, bypassing the hoary old slip of paper from your doctor, you will be able to access the pleasures of the modern world once again by brandishing your smartphone.  How lovely.

“CommonPass, dubbed the ‘world’s first COVID passport’ by the London Daily Mail, was developed by ‘the Commons Project,’ a ‘nonprofit public trust established to build platforms and services to make life better for people around the world…’”  I immediately distrust anything labeled “nonprofit,” and I note that this is arising out of a nation that our government recently had to scold for inviting in the Huawei communist hackery.  CommonPass attaches the obligatory “common good,” noting that it was developed with support from the Rockefeller Foundation and the World Economic Forum.

I tell you now that THIS is the new virus against which we should have isolated ourselves, and sadly, is already loose in our fevered, fearful, and furtive policy wonks and “journalists.” 

“The World Economic Forum and other international bodies are making it increasingly clear that when a vaccine is developed, it will most probably be made a prerequisite for travel.”  But how shall you keep the international passporters isolated in Atlanta’s International Concourse, unless you insist upon a phone-proven negative or vaccinated status from everyone in the entire airport, staff and passengers alike? 

Physicians will begin to be bothered by patients and family members seeking documentation that they are COVID-negative so that they may go to school, work, restaurants, movie theaters, ball games, or even on domestic flights.  We will be directed by governmental agencies to encourage, strongly encourage, and even demand that patients receive any COVID-19 vaccine coming ‘round the bend, without any long-term side-effect data, for a viral infection that is overwhelmingly non-fatal. 

I’m not against reasoned applications of public health, within the limits necessary to respect the individual, and I haven’t moved to Galt’s Gulch (although I kinda wish I could).  I respect that there are different views among colleagues regarding keeping others safe, and mine is not the only acceptable view.  But do we physicians really want to go this far into enforcing government edicts so often made up on the fly, arbitrarily, often to push an agenda, egged on by a mob media, based often not on proven data, but on biased supposition?  We all (me too) agreed with mandatory seat belt laws because they kept others safe, and because it was beaten into our sub-conscious that “driving is a privilege.”  Will state medical boards require us to sign on for each patient to log their COVID status, or will Big Insurance begin to deny payment if five minutes badgering a patient to take the vaccine was not documented?  Is going to the movies, or hitting Starbucks next year for a pumpkin spice latte with an extra shot (love ‘em) going to be likewise re-defined to be a “privilege,” sanctioned by doctors fearful of losing their livelihoods?  Do you want to be that sort of gatekeeper?

If handing out electronic permission slips for the “privilege” of living daily life is going to be the new role of physicians, then we surrender any decency or ethics we claimed were the foundation of this profession. 

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Pat Conrad MD

Pat Conrad is a full-time rural ER doc on the Florida Gulf Coast. After serving as a carrier naval flight officer, he graduated from the University of Florida College of Medicine, and the Tallahassee Family Medicine residency program. His commentary has appeared in Medical Economics and at AuthenticMedicine.com . Conrad’s work stresses individual freedom and autonomy as the crucial foundation for medical excellence, is wary of all collective solutions, and recognizes that the vast majority of poisonous snakebites are concurrent with alcohol consumption.

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2 Responses

  1. PW says:

    How long would this “negative” covid test be good for?

  2. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Bingo.

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