De’ja’ Vu Governors? Covid 4.0?
The time to invent, manufacture, and distribute the Covid-19 vaccines is an unprecedented, truly amazing scientific accomplishment. The Biden administration, now ramping up its efforts administer the vaccine, announced that the US will be delivering 3M shots per day by April 1. The President helped by enacting the Defense Production Act as promised. But don’t wave the victory flag just yet! The virus has also developed variants in England, Brazil, and South Africa and these and other mutations have all been identified here in the United States. Anthony Fauci MD, the Director of the NIH’s Allergy and Infectious Disease section, and Rochelle Wallensky MD, the Director of the CDC have both stated that the variants may not be as susceptible to the vaccines and have both also recommended to continue to wear masks and social distance, as the case-rate is too high in many areas to “open up” or stop mitigation efforts. Recently, seven universities in the US reported an increasing number of Covid-19 infections on campuses. Doe this feal like De’ja’ vu anyone?
Despite a national mandate from President Biden and clear CDC recommendations to wear masks, governors in Texas, Florida, and Mississippi announced the opening of business’ and have lifted mask mandates and mitigation efforts. From a medical perspective this couldn’t be more wrong. Maybe these governors went to a different medical school than I did? The governor’s first responsibility is to protect their constituents and they’ve failed at their most important gubernatorial task. Unfortunately, those states will have more cases and more fatalities than other states about 6-8 weeks from now. Honestly, these states could be responsible for a fourth wave unless appropriate mitigation efforts are enforced. It is clear from their lack of action that many governors want to quickly open the economy, try to make money, and ignore the safety concerns.
One easy fix would be to draft a federal law stating that governors and local officials must obey and enforce CDC recommendations. I understand everyone’s concerns about their first amendment rights but where’s the common sense? Over 550,000 American lives have been lost to date. A Corona virus infection in human being without a mask is a lethal weapon. A conscious decision not to wear a mask in a pandemic should be illegal because a person can carry the virus, not know it, and still spread the virus. Vaccinated individuals can pass the virus to someone else without being infected themselves. Killing someone because you won’t wear a mask should not be an adequate defense for murder nor is it included in the bandwidth of the 1st Amendment.
Would anyone call their governor for medical advice if you or a relative became ill with Covid-19? No, but most people would call a medical doctor and follow their advice. Your physician should say something like this: Take the vaccine. Listen carefully to Dr. Fauci and Dr. Wallensky. Please wear a mask, wash your hands, and practice social distancing. In addition, caution with advice from folks like Sen. Rand Paul MD, who embarrassed himself in a Senate hearing with Dr. Fauci last week arguing that masks are no longer needed. For the record, Sen. Paul is an eye doctor, his expertise is cataracts. For him to act like he knows anything about Covid-19 infections or PPE procurement is pure conjecture and at this point nothing more than “political theatre.” Senator Paul is wrong. Masks prevent the spread of the disease. Right now, the baseline infection rates in certain communities around the country are too high to fully re-open and several variants have been identified for which natural immunity or vaccinated immunity may not be effective against. Dr’s Fauci and Wallensky are outstanding doctors and world-class talents who will go down in history as American heroes. Please listen to these doctors whose teams write the policies that are the educational foundation for the word’s infectious disease experts.
Watch out as some doctors take advantage of people by endorsing conspiracy theories that align with the patient’s vaccination fears and then agree with the patient’s choice not to take the vaccine. Know your doctor. Know your city or town’s infection rates. Doctors should almost always recommend the vaccine unless there’s been a previous allergic reaction. I’ve been practicing for almost three decades. I don’t know any doctors who didn’t take the vaccine or any who wouldn’t recommend it for their patients. Please think mindfully about that.
– Mathew Boente