'Frankly, there’s some anger': GOP lawmaker who lost his mom to COVID-19 slams 'politically motivated' anti-vax misinformation
In Idaho and other deep red states in the U.S., it isn't hard to find MAGA Republicans who are quick to promote anti-vaxxer and anti-masker conspiracy theories and engage in different forms of coronavirus denial. But one Idaho Republican who is encouraging residents of his state to get vaccinated for COVID-19 is State Rep. Greg Chaney, who lost his 74-year-old mother, Judy Teter-Page, to the pandemic on September 20.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 75% of U.S.-based adults have been at least partially vaccinated for the COVID-19 coronavirus. But data from the Mayo Clinic shows how greatly vaccination rates can vary from state to state in the U.S. According to Mayo, those who have been at least partially vaccinated for COVID-19 range from 77% in Vermont and Massachusetts to 47% in Idaho and 48% in West Virginia and Wyoming.
"On September 20," Boise Statesman reporter Sally Krutzig explains, "Rep. Greg Chaney found himself putting on a gown, gloves and face mask as quickly as he could. He was going to visit his mother's hospital room. Fifteen minutes later, she died of COVID-19. She had chosen not to get vaccinated."
Teter-Page, according to Krutzig, became sick with COVID-19 around the same time as members of his sister's family.
"When Teter-Page took a turn for the worse," Krutzig reports, "she refused to go to the hospital for two days, afraid of Idaho's newly enacted crisis standards — a form of health care rationing caused by an influx of COVID-19 patients. She was especially concerned about a widespread misconception that hospitals were not resuscitating any patients. That portion of the crisis standards only potentially becomes a factor if ventilators become scarce."
The 40-year-old Chaney, who was first elected to the Idaho House of Representatives in 2014, told the Boise Statesman, "Acknowledging that what happened was a product of Mom's choice kind of throws a strange wrinkle in the grieving process. She didn't exactly choose to die. But she chose, based on her age and physical condition, that she was highly likely to end up there if she got COVID. It's a hard thing to wrap your brain around."
On Monday, September 27 — a week after his mother's death — Chaney used social media to urge others to get vaccinated for COVID-19. And he has been pointing the finger at fellow Republicans who are promoting anti-vaxxer misinformation.
Chaney told the Boise Statesman, "Frankly, there's some anger. I think there are people in our political realm.… who are essentially killing people with misinformation. But they'll get away with it, because you can never really tell at what point somebody was convinced of a lie. Was it the fifth time it was repeated? Was it the 50th time? Was it the 500th time? Nobody really knows. But this politically motivated misinformation campaign that's out there is deadly."
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