Shawn Vestal: The problem is the pandemic, not the “division” of public health
Idaho Gov. Brad Little, who plays like Nero as his state’s COVID-19 crisis rages, says he fears the president’s vaccine mandates could create a “divide.”
Lord save us from the Chicken Littles who are now performatively concerned, when it comes to the pandemic, with everything but the pandemic.
Obesity. Horse paste. False science. Body boundaries. Freedom!
Please. As hospitals overflow, some of us would prefer a more real division between those who have been sane and responsible and those who impose the consequences of our extravagant selfishness on others.
More space between the vaxxed and the anti-vaxxed.
No more distance between the masked and the angry unmasked.
A greater gap between the population who tried to end the pandemic and those who aided and encouraged the disease and death of their neighbors.
As hospitals in Spokane fill up and limit non-COVID care, it would be nice, honestly, to have a thicker and more resilient border between our hospital system and the tragically overburdened one in Idaho, which is now sending its overflow. towards us.
And maybe, as long as we engage in some wacky hyperbole, we could build an even thicker and even more resilient border between numb adults and innocent children, whose risks have generally been much lower than the rest of the world. ‘between us, but who are now seeing increasing rates of infection, hospitalization and even death, increasing with the rest of the Delta.
It wouldn’t be so horrible, after all, to be even more divided – divided between the wise land of post-pandemic normalcy and the realm of endless pandemic.
The problem is, we can’t be. Not in the important sense. We live with each other, and this is where the virus grows.
It’s just one person inhaling another’s disease over and over again.
So at this point in the disinformation pandemic, it seems quite right and reasonable to say that if you can’t bring yourself to get the safe and effective vaccine, you don’t need to spread your consequences over everything. the world as a firefighter or a cop or an overpaid football coach or a federal contractor or a concert spectator or an airplane traveler.
It has become necessary to force this choice on the reluctant given the high cost to everyone and the early signs that the warrants are helping to increase immunization rates.
Consequently, meet the freedom of choice.
It’s not bad that we’re politically divided on the pandemic, of course. Is it the fault of the voices of reason? Of course not. Our disagreements run deep, seemingly irrevocable, and often strangely silly, but the flourishing pandemic is now a wholly-owned affiliate of the post-Trump, post-truth Republican Party, which has taken conspiratorial and anti-public health positions at every step. the path.
The divisions that Little claims to elevate to primary concern are already deeply rooted, and they have not been planted by public health champions. Extremist members of the Idaho legislature are now trying to convene a special session so as not to address the fact that the state’s entire hospital system is rationing non-COVID care – but to generate feverish and ruddy opposition to immunization warrants that could help solve the crisis problem.
What hope for unity is there in such madness? There is no one-size-fits-all environment where the wisdom of getting a safe and effective vaccine shares space with the madness of refusing the vaccine and going all the way in sheep’s water, just to own the libs – and it is not wisdom that is to blame.
Whether our civic union is strong or strained doesn’t matter at all – not at all – in terms of the most important pandemic measures. More and more people are getting sick, no matter what you think of it. Hospitals are hopelessly overloaded and stressed, whether you “believe it” or not. Intensive care units are teeming with people dying from a disease that many of them did not take seriously enough – we have all heard the now common stories of hospital workers treating people dying from a disease to which they don’t believe.
COVID doesn’t care.
The virus is coming for you anyway. And it affects other people as a result, including some who have been vaccinated. Vaccines work very well, but not perfectly.
Spokane’s COVID hospitalizations reach record highs. Almost everyone in Spokane’s intensive care units has not been vaccinated. Ninety-one percent of people in Idaho hospitals are unvaccinated. The others had their shots but ended up getting sick anyway because the delta variant was given such a nice and nourishing home to thrive on.
Is it divisive to point out who is to blame for this?
Idaho has the lowest vaccination rate in the country, a thriving far-right movement that equates mask mandates with the Holocaust, and a statewide reluctance to do the two things that could stop the pandemic: increase vaccination rates and demand masks in crowded indoor spaces.
Just last week, the Coeur d’Alene School Board refused to adopt a mask warrant for children in a city where cases are rampant.
Would it be divisive to see how this was a cowardly failure of leadership?
The Idaho ER is now the Spokane ER as their overflow patients are being referred to us. We can be divided on the appropriate response to the pandemic, we are not divided enough in terms of the consequences.
Meanwhile, the delta phase is getting worse and worse for kids. Kootenai Health Pediatrics doctor Vanessa Carroll spoke to the Coeur d’Alene Rotary Club last week and delivered a grim reality. Based on the nationwide skyrocketing of cases among children and the rate of hospitalization of these children, Carroll said that at this rate, some 60 children in the Coeur d’Alene school district could fall. sick enough to require hospitalization, according to a story about its presentation in Coeur d’Alene Press.
That’s more than the total number of pediatric intensive care beds in Spokane, Portland and Boise.
The way to stop this is simple: projectiles and masks.
Who – so as not to divide! – everyone with a little common sense already knows that.