Dear Editor,

Our brother, Ed, died from COVID-19. But truth be told, pride also killed Ed.

He knew what the numbers were: Over 4.25 million dead in the world; 600,000-plus dead in the United States; 39 (now 41) dead in the U.S. Virgin Islands and 31 (now 39) dead in the BVI.

Still, Ed was not a believer. He thought the numbers were fake. The government was pulling a “fast one,” he said. Fudging the numbers. Said COVID was just the flu.

When vaccines got approval, conspiracy theorists peddled the notion that some unnamed, all-powerful entity designed it to plant trackers in our bodies, pollute our blood, change our DNA, implant the mark of the beast (even those who never believed in the mark somehow believed that too). An especially popular theory is that the “entity” designed the vaccine to make us sterile. “Us” being the so called “minorities,” the numeric “majority” on the planet.

Yet, 84% of vaccine shots have gone to high and upper-middle income countries, and the vast majority of those vaccinated are beyond childbearing age. Faced with that reality, the conspiracy theorists pivot and say the vaccine was designed to only sterilize the black and brown peoples of the planet because we carry a “special” DNA not found in white people. How dumb! Who believes this stuff?!?!

According to the World Health Organization, roughly 6.4 billion people from “low-income” countries are begging for the vaccine with less than 1.1% of them vaccinated. While the poor and colored nations of the world beg the World Health Organization to intervene on their behalf for access to COVID vaccines, a group of idiots in well-to-do countries and the Virgin Islands are encouraging these same peoples of color not to take the vaccine, saying they must drink bush tea and breathe in steamed onion and garlic instead. The vaccine is right here! For free! The arrogance of the privileged.

Some of us have become a parrot for every COVID conspiracy that pops up, twisting our otherwise logical brain into knots. How blind is he with sight who chooses to look away. We do not want to see. We permit the lunatic fringe to water down our rational minds. According to the World Health Organization, roughly 4.6 billion vaccinations have been administered worldwide.

On Sunday morning [Aug. 8], I listened to a local radio broadcast where an anti-vaccine disciple was screaming that we shouldn’t take the vaccine because 500,000 of those 4.6 billion experienced side effects and that some died. That’s .01%. Is that the hill he wants us to die on?

Yeah, Ed didn’t believe in COVID, and COVID didn’t care that he didn’t believe!

So, when the COVID came for Ed, pride and nearly 16 months of conspiracy theories kept him from going to the hospital. Instead, he sought his own cure. COVID wasn’t waiting for him to find that “cure.”

When my brother finally agreed to go to the hospital, it was too late. Ed ran out of time. He was afraid of the vaccine, accepting what the anti-vaccine disciples claimed it would do to him. But COVID killed our brother Ed. What irony!

When COVID comes for you, you may be strong enough to fight back and win, but your brother may not be so strong. The bush and steam and onion and moringa may save you, but it may not save your mother, your father, your sister, your child, or your brother. A friend of mine said to me, “Potter, I hope I wrong about the vaccine, only time will tell.” I responded, “How long are you willing to wait to be proven wrong, who will you infect while you wait, how many will die while you wait?”

To the conspiracy lunatics who have a need to “share” COVID conspiracy podcasts, articles and broadcasts, STOP! You are spreading confusion in our small community resulting in avoidable sickness, grief, and death.

Permit us dummies to wear our mask, social distance and get vaccinated without your hollow chatter ringing in our ears and your propaganda polluting our inboxes.

I write this letter with the consent of Ed’s family to change but a single mind, and save but a single life.

May our brother Ed rest in peace!

— Everard Potter, St. Thomas, is the brother of former Lt. Gov. Osbert Potter.