To some Americans, “compliance” is a dirty word, especially compliance with any rule, or even suggestion, related to preventing the spread of COVID-19. In various parts of the country, public officials who try to do the right thing are met with indifference, if not actual resistance, and even interference and obstructionism. For The New York Times, Noah Weiland wrote,
They are facing new heights of hostility, and new battles are looming over what safety measures schools and businesses should put in place in the fall, decisions the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said should be made in consultation with local health officials.
Many agencies and institutions that are meant to serve the public are operating with inadequate budgets and paltry support of other kinds.
A year and a half into the crisis, their battered departments are now struggling to contain the spread of the Delta variant with testing and contact tracing — the best resources, despite their limited reach, in the many places where vaccination rates remain low.
In Louisiana, Dr. Martha Whyte has been trying to save the children, whether obese or otherwise, from the virus — and their parents and grandparents too, along with their teachers and babysitters, and in general, everybody. In that neck of the woods only about 30% of the people have been vaccinated, which is a considerably lower proportion than the national average.
Dr. Whyte speaks at churches and calls on neighborhood residents, hoping to correct misconceptions and motivate people to want the shots. When interviewed by a reporter, she emphasizes the care taken by the team to respect people’s dignity and autonomy by offering a service that can be freely accepted or rejected. A canvasser does not pose intrusive questions like, “Have you had your COVID vaccination?”
“We don’t ask people that,” she said. “That’s not our business. We’re here to ask you, ‘Would you like to schedule a Covid vaccination?’”
The previous post mentioned a young man who was not vaccinated against COVID, and caught it in a concert hall crowd, and had to have a double lung transplant. This replacement surgery is usually preceded by a long period of ECMO treatment, which is essentially what laypersons call “life support.” Traditionally, the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation machine does the work of the heart and lungs, keeping a patient alive during open-heart surgery.
Lately, some COVID patients have been maintained by these devices for months at a time. To administer the high-risk, last-ditch treatment requires a ton of expensive equipment and an entire team of intensely trained experts.
Dr. Cleavon Gilman is an emergency medicine physician who uses social media to bring awareness to this phenomenon. He speaks of the respiratory therapist who fell ill in January and spent months connected to an ECMO machine before finally undergoing a double lung transplant in July; the 43-year-old former bodybuilder who held the distinction of receiving Kentucky’s first double lung transplant; the 33-year-old (six months on ECMO, double lung transplant); the 17-year-old (five months on ECMO, double lung transplant)…
And yet, deniers continue to spread the lie that only the elderly and obese come down with the virus, never the young and fit. However, evidence to the contrary keeps on piling up. Young people do catch COVID, and they are getting younger all the time.
A short digression
The demand for gently used lungs is obviously increasing every day. Where will we find donors for all these double-lung transplants? Will the trend lead to an upswing in horrendous crimes, like people being kidnapped and killed to harvest their organs? What kind of monstrous future is being created here?
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Source: “In Louisiana, Vaccine Misinformation Has Public Health Workers Feeling ‘Stuck’,” NYTimes.com, 07/25/21
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