CONCERN. NOT PANIC.
Those words repeated in an address to the nation by President Joe Biden Tuesday afternoon as the highly transmissible omicron variant has now become the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the US.
While Biden advised calm, he also issued a strong warning to the unvaccinated that they remain at high risk for severe illness and/or death. It’s nothing we haven’t heard before.
Yet, the warning comes with a new sense of urgency as hospital beds fill and healthcare workers continue to be overwhelmed. The actions of those choosing not to get vaccinated are affecting all of us, the President said. The unvaccinated, he noted, have an obligation to themselves, their families and their country to get vaccinated.
I agree. I would emphasize, though, the obligation to others. Family. Friends. Neighbors. Strangers. The common good.
Like the President, I’m feeling tired, worried and frustrated. Frustrated particularly because we have the tools to end this pandemic. Vaccination. Testing. Masking to stop the spread. We know so much more than we did when this pandemic started, a point the President emphasized in saying, “This is not March 2020.”
But here we are, hospitals filling or full. Not enough staff to treat patients. National Guard and federal military personnel now called to help over-burdened hospitals/healthcare workers. We should never have gotten to this point.
Biden termed the misinformation out there about vaccines and the virus “wrong” and “immoral.” Some of the misinformation I’ve heard from those who oppose vaccines is unbelievable, making me wonder how anyone can believe the untruths spewed.
At this point, it seems like people have made up their minds about vaccination. I know of cases when not even the death, or near death, of a family member would convince someone to get vaccinated.
So here we are with the federal government calling up 1,000 troops to assist in hospitals. They’re already in Minnesota. And newly-arrived in Wisconsin and Indiana and other states. More ambulances are being sent to states. Additional vaccination and testing sites are being set up. Soon we can order COVID tests online, delivered free to our homes. All of these actions are necessary.
But we must also do our parts individually. And that starts with the very basic premise of caring for one another. Caring enough to get vaccinated, and boostered. Wearing masks in public settings, regardless of vaccination status. Testing if we have symptoms or have been exposed. Caring that our actions affect others.
I feel gratitude for those 200 million plus Americans who are fully-vaccinated. They did the right thing. For themselves. For their families, friends, neighbors, community, strangers. For the common good. For their country. I can only hope the remaining however many million will choose to do the right thing and get vaccinated. I don’t want unvaccinated people to land in the hospital on a ventilator. Or worse. Die. Nor do I want vaccinated individuals who may experience a health crisis unable to get the care they need because our understaffed hospitals are filled with unvaccinated COVID patients.
NOTE: If you are anti-vaccine, anti-mask, anti-whatever, don’t bother to comment. I won’t publish those views, or misinformation, on this, my personal blog.
© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
I watched his speech last night as well. I do think he could have used extremely concerned. Even mention of panic in my experience means that the situation is already out of control to a point that the government is just placing the best bandaids possible. It takes a huge effort to activate or move military medical personnel all over the country and it is always the last possible option available to leadership. Sad! Just plain and simple! We are asking or needing military to shore up a medical system that can not longer keep up due to people not giving a hoot about others in the communities where they live and work! The military personnel also have families, have all volunteered to protect our country most have deployed to horrible situations all around the globe. Why not ask the communities to get unvaccinated people to work at the hospitals for a few shifts? I am guessing that suddenly the numbers would start declining when they start seeing with their own eyes how bad the situation is inside those hospital settings! Shameful! I am all about free choice but at this point I can’t support people who choose to be stubborn and uneducated.
Paula, I deeply appreciate your insights, as someone who has served in our military. You make valid points about mobilization and the stage we are at with this pandemic. Thank you for sharing your perspective, which caused me to pause and think more on what’s happening. Your idea about having unvaccinated people work a few shifts in hospitals would seem effective…except, of course, we really don’t want unvaccinated working in healthcare (although I know some are). Stay safe. Be well. And, again, thank you for your insightful comment.
Thanks for allowing me to vent on your platform, I think we all are a bit frustrated with how things have been handled and the new situation is not helpful.
You are welcome, Paula. I view your comments as constructive and insightful, adding value to this post. Thank you, as always.
You are generous with your comments about the unvaccinated. I see them as selfish people who don’t seem to care or understand the risk they pose to everyone. And frankly, I’m getting fed up with them.
I understand your feelings, Jane. I sometimes temper my thoughts here. Don’t think that I haven’t thought exactly what you wrote, because I have. The longer this pandemic continues, the more frustrated I feel. We could be over this, if only…