By Dr. Anthony Policastro

I had a number of comments that I used as a Commanding Officer in the Air Force. One of those was my take on perfection. I used to say that I expected everyone to strive for perfection but that the only one I actually expected perfection out of was myself.

Unfortunately, that would not work in today’s society. Perfection is the expectation of the people on social media. No one can make an off-hand comment. No one can do what appears to be an unkind action. If they do, they will be crucified online.

The individuals online will make sure that everyone knows about the misstep. They will then have additional people ‘like’ their complaint. The result will be that the individual affected will have to react.

The problem with that is that it will never be enough. The individual will never be able to spread the word to all the individuals in the same group that is complaining. It would be like a retraction buried on the back page of a newspaper.

There is a term for this social media behavior. It is called “cancel culture.” The idea is that if you can complain enough you can make the individual disappear.

Some colleges will have students using cancel culture. There are students who are social media darlings on campus. Everyone pays attention to them. They control the behavior of other students by the threat they possess. They can use social media to cancel someone else’s social life.

This is nothing but a form of cyber bullying. Things get blown up out of proportion. Sometimes there is nothing that an individual does. If the social media darlings do not like them, they can imply that they did something.

There have been documented cases of suicides where cancel culture played a role. That is not a surprise. Cyberbullying has frequently caused adolescents to commit suicide. This makes it a real medical concern.

Another group that has been hard hit by cancel culture is entertainment. Individuals who make comments will often see them blown up out of proportion on social media.

A good example of this is the guest host of Jeopardy, Ken Jennings. In 2014 he made a joke about people with disabilities on social media.

In 2018, he indicated that he had apologized to individuals who reached out to him over the post. He admitted that it was an attempt at being funny, but was not.

In 2020 it was announced that he would be the first guest host of Jeopardy after Alex Trebek’s death. Within 24 hours of the announcement social media dredged up the six-year-old comment. They felt it was enough to remove him from the position. Of course their opinion was clearly cancel culture. They wanted to cancel him out.

Recently social media came down on Tom Brady. During the boat parade after the Super Bowl, he threw the Lombardi Trophy from his boat to another boat. He had just won his 7th such trophy. He clearly respects it. However, social media blew up by what they thought was disrespect.

It appears that perfection is the new norm. The only ones who seem to be perfect are the individuals who actively practice cancel culture through their social media platforms.


The number of daily national new cases has run between 54,000 and 83,000 since February 22nd. This is lower than the 100,000 plus number that had been the case.

Sussex County numbers have remained between 29 and 74 new cases daily since February 15. This is lower than the 80 and above figure that was consistent prior to that.

Delaware has given the first dose of vaccine to 15 percent of residents. That is the same as the national number.

As I have said before the key metric for vaccines is how many people have received their second dose. Delaware is at 7.1 percent for second doses. That is slightly below the national average of 7.5 percent.

There are 525,600 minutes in a year. The opening song from the play Rent uses that to show how we measure a year in our life. In the last year we have come up just short of that number of deaths from COVID-19.

We were really close to having one death per minute for the entire year. One wonders why we weren’t more proactive when it started.

A recent article suggests that it has to do with the kind of culture a country has. Countries where people take advice seriously have low COVID death rates.

Countries where people feel that they don’t need advice, like the U.S., have higher death rates. So some of the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the individuals who thought they were smarter than the virus.

Here is the simple math for the vaccine choice. If you take the vaccine you have zero chance of dying from COVID-19. If you do not take the vaccine you have better than a 1 in 1,000 chance of being dead. It’s amazing how many people want to take that risk.

Johnson and Johnson obtained FDA emergency use authorization for its vaccine on February 27. I published its effectiveness statistics a few weeks ago. They showed 66 percent effectiveness worldwide and 72 percent effectiveness in the U.S. They also showed that among the remaining 34 percent that got the virus no one was hospitalized or died.

Therefore, it is effective at preventing severe disease. Coupled with the fact that it is a single dose, that makes it very attractive. A third plus is that storage requirements are not as difficult as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. That will make it more readily available.

They are also studying the effectiveness of a two-dose regimen. The early results suggest that the two-dose regimen is 86 percent effective. So there will likely be a booster dose at some point. That will not be the case right now.