Immunocompromised people are concerned as Covid-19 mask mandates are revoked
Immunocompromised people are concerned as Covid-19 mask mandates are revoked

Immunocompromised people are concerned as Covid-19 mask mandates are revoked

At the last doctor’s visit before my kidney transplant in February 2020, I was warned about my future vulnerability to viruses. The flu had been known to take transplant patients out, the doctor said, and even the cold had sent some to the hospital. Just as thoroughly as my medical team members were preparing me to navigate the world with a weakened immune system, they could not have prepared me for the world that suddenly became a reality: one that is scattered with people who have decided, that a fatal pandemic does not justify a defensive response that openly mocks those who try to avoid infection.

My worries about the virus itself have competed with my worries about the accelerated decline of basic decency.

Add to that a consistent Orwellian view that some deaths are more equal than others – that, for example, my death from Covid would not illustrate the mortality of the pandemic as a death of someone from the two-good-kidneys community would – and you can understand, why my worries about the virus over the last two years have competed with my worries about the accelerated decline in basic decency.

Shortly after my transplant, I started running a newsroom covering the state of Louisiana, but I worked remotely and rarely visited the Capitol for fear of being near Republican lawmakers who avoided masks. They did not rock after their colleagues and their spouses started to get sick (some fatal); they did not shake despite the fact that they knew one of their colleagues had received a kidney transplant. During a committee hearing on a bill, such a lawmaker against masks described himself as a victim: “Personally, I do not wear a mask,” he said.and I get discriminated against. “

But since the start of the pandemic, some of us have had the good fortune to live in places where local and government officials have taken Covid-19 mitigation efforts, including school and restaurant closures, quantity restrictions and mask mandates, seriously. Even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been rejected by partisans and have just as often failed its Covid message, the Agency has generally emphasized the need for individuals to take precautions. The fact that many have made it a point to disregard official guidance does not diminish the importance of such guidance. What leaders say matters, which means more people will wear masks when officials say it is necessary than if they do not.

How discouraging, then, that in a country where more than 2,000 people die daily from Covid, the few mask mandates left soon appear to be lifted by government officials. At the same time, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the agency could update its masking guide this week. According to a Feb. 15 NBC News reportThe White House has been eager for the CDC to provide an update on its recommendation of indoor maskeven if it wants the agency to get it right and it will not appear as if it is putting political pressure on the agency. “

I do not read it as if the White House does not want to pressure the CDC, but as the White House does not want to be caught in doing so. I also read the report on the Biden administration’s eagerness for new guidance as pressure in itself, because if new guidance was actually needed, would an independent and scientifically rigid CDC not issue such guidance without encouraging it?

According to the current guidelines, we should wear masks wherever there is a “significant or high” transmission of the virus, which from Thursday contained 98 percent of U.S. counties. Why should we rely on any recommendation that masks are no longer needed if the transmission rate is still so high and that many people are still dying? If such a recommendation is issued with such high numbers as these, then why should it not be categorized as the same kind of disregard for public health that the incarnated mask opponents have shown?

According to current guidelines, we should wear masks wherever there is a “significant or high” transmission of the virus, which as of Thursday was 98 percent of U.S. counties.

In a Feb. 9 NBC News story about the growing fear among people at increased risk of experiencing serious Covid complications, Jeremy Max, executive director of the Living Independence Network in Idaho, said he has had a hard time asking people with greater risk. to speak publicly for oneself so that they will not be attacked to do so. As residents of a predominantly rural state, Idahoans have a tradition of caring for each other, Max said. But now? ‚ÄúPeople come up and literally say they are not responsible for one [disabled] the person’s well-being. It’s like we’ve reached 180 in terms of how we think and care about each other. “

My wife wears a mask for her own sake. But she also wears one to lessen the likelihood of her infecting me. “You know you do not have to wear it anymore,” a stranger told her Saturday. Later that day, another unknown person mocked her when he saw her and mumbled, “Such a sheep.” It is the world my family and I must navigate, one in which the precautions we take to avoid a fatal infection are just as likely to be mocked as they are supported.

All previous pandemics have come to an end and there is no reason to believe that this one will be any different. But until then, how many more will be added to this country’s toll of almost 930,000? How many of these deaths could we have prevented if we had not treated those who are vulnerable as less valuable? Perhaps, most importantly, when the pandemic is over, then is there any hope of regaining the lost decency?

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