Colorado Republicans held a press conference at the state capitol on Wednesday to unveil 40+ bills that they plan to introduce over the coming months as part of their 2022 legislative session agenda.
Near the end of the press conference, State Rep. Mark Baisley (R-Highlands Ranch) strolled to the podium to talk about his upcoming legislation to invent some new science related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the same Mark Baisley, mind you, who recently proposed wrapping Colorado voting machines in tin foil in order to keep them safe from wireless hacking attempts, or aliens, or something.
Baisley’s COVID bill is related to the mythical “vaccine passports” that have recently made Republicans so hysterical. But Baisley’s idea is so dumb that House Minority Leader Hugh McKean had to cut him off at the microphone before he could do any more damage. Take a look:
We transcribed Baisley’s gibberish as a public service:
BAISLEY: So I have a bill that, uh, would elevate the status of natural immunity for folks who have had COVID. Um, elevate that to the same status as, um, the rMNA vaccinations. So, if there’s any requirement by anyone to have a vaccination card, then that natural immunity would have equal footing…equal standing.
Baisley stops here to respond to a question off-camera from Marianne Goodland of The Colorado Springs Gazette:
BAISLEY: Yeah, watch for the, uh, scientific community as witnesses, uh, in the committee when we bring our bill forward. And yes, there’s very strong support for folks…in fact, it makes a lot more sense because the rMNA that, uh, the vaccines…are an engineering of our proteins to try to duplicate those spikes so that it would then hopefully recognize the spike in the, uh, COVID virus that comes in…but that’s not the exact signature that your body develops in the immunities when you have the actual disease. [Pols emphasis]
So, it’s, uh, it’s a pretty reasoned approach and you’ll see a lot of good scientific testimony coming in for it…
Like Baisley, we are not doctors, but this explanation sounds more than a little fishy. Baisley might have had more to say on the subject were it not for McKean jumping in to stop the rhetorical bleeding:
MCKEAN: Representative Baisley coming to a Health and Human Services Committee soon near you. Um, this is the amazing thing that we have – people who understand the depth of this and understand the things that we can do to help folks in Colorado get through the pandemic, get through all of the pieces that are left, which is how do you prove that you have immunity? Or, how do you prove that you have had the immunizations. Thank you, Mark.
Let’s recap, shall we? Republicans, led by Rep. Mark Baisley, plan to introduce legislation that would state that anyone who has been infected with COVID-19 has the same immunity and protection from future infection as someone who has been vaccinated against the virus.
This is simply not true. Full stop.
We’ll be interested to see what sort of “scientific community” experts come forward to support Baisley’s reasoning, given that ACTUAL SCIENTISTS AND DOCTORS have regularly said that you should still get vaccinated even if you have been infected with COVID-19. Studies have repeatedly shown that unvaccinated people are more than two times as likely to be re-infected with COVID-19 and more than five times as likely to be hospitalized with severe symptoms. Research has also demonstrated that not everyone who is infected with COVID-19 will in fact develop antibodies to the virus that could protect them from future infection. Right-wing windbag Glenn Beck is one of the many unvaccinated people recently re-infected with COVID-19 after suffering through a previous infection.
It is well-known that COVID-19 is much more deadly for unvaccinated people in general, and new data continues to support that finding. As The New York Times recently reported:
When vaccination rates and behavior changes are not enough to stop the virus from spreading, those infections are much more likely to lead to hospitalization and death for unvaccinated people. The latest data from the C.D.C., which is based on data from 25 states and cities, shows that the death rate for unvaccinated people is 14 times as high as that for vaccinated people. [Pols emphasis]
Alas, this aversion to scientific facts is not a problem isolated to the Mark Baisleys of the world. You may recall last fall when GOP gubernatorial candidate
Hiedi Heidi Ganahl was roundly criticized for hosting a forum with noted anti-vaxxer Dennis Prager, who subsequently became ill with COVID-19 himself.
Republicans can, and apparently will, say that natural immunity from COVID-19 is just as good as getting vaccinated against the virus. Some people have also said that COVID-19 vaccines include magnets and/or secret microchips implanted by the government in order to track the daily monotony of all Americans. But there’s a difference between merely espousing nonsense theories and trying to codify them with legislation despite any lack of scientific evidence to support the proposal.
This isn’t just irresponsible political maneuvering — it’s flat-out dangerous. But it’s an actual legislative priority for Colorado Republicans in 2022.