STERNBERG: Here we go again with the coronavirus pandemic

Life in the Time of Covid-19

Here we go again with
the coronavirus pandemic

Richard Sternberg, retired Bassett Hospital orthopedic surgeon, is providing his professional perspective weekly during the COVID-19
threat. A village trustee,
he resides in Cooperstown.

Several months ago, I stopped writing my weekly column on life in the time of Covid-19. The rollout of the vaccinations was going well locally, the numbers of people hospitalized locally were low, and organizations were opening up. The Rotary Club that I belong to in Cooperstown was making plans to go back to meetings in person.

I was also recovering from major surgery and it was difficult physically to put together the columns.

I thought for the most part my job was done. Now, here we go again.

In many places in the United States the numbers of the sick and dying from Covid-19 are rapidly increasing in areas where there is a low percentage of vaccinated individuals. It also correlates with places that opened in an unrestricted fashion. Many first-line healthcare workers are completely burned out and can’t begin to understand how people who could have avoided this very deadly and debilitating disease refused to do so and even refused to acknowledge that in many cases it was real. What is particularly disturbing is seeing patients begging to be vaccinated as they are being rolled into intensive care units.

Yes, there is a risk of complications from vaccination. There is a risk of complications from everything we do or food we eat or medicine we take. Riding in a car is a risk.

Nevertheless, after hundreds of millions of vaccinations there are about 10 to 20 documented deaths from vaccinations in the U.S., while in hundreds of millions of people in the U.S., with very few of them having been vaccinated, the number of dead is more than 500,000.

So, give me odds of over 10,000 to one in my favor and I will buy that lottery ticket every time.

A year ago, I was explaining to people how following public health guidelines would save lives.

Seven months ago, I was explaining to people how getting vaccinated would save lives. We could have been out of the woods on this but some people want to believe anyone but reputable physicians, UNTIL THEY OR THEIR LOVED ONES GET SICK, and then they start begging for help and making bargains with God.

At the current rate, we will go into some form of lockdown soon over at least a large part of the U.S. Children will get COVID and, yes, while the fatality rate is less in children than adults, so far, kids still die of this, and kids get sick and some become permanently disabled because of this disease.

Ideally, every one eligible gets vaccinated. While not completely stopping the spread of infection this will cut it down and outcomes will be rarely fatal or debilitating. We might not have to go back to masks and social distancing. This is what is happening in Canada, which at one point was far behind the U.S. in percentage of the population vaccinated and is now well ahead. Canada continues to open up.

So, if you still think that the best thing to do is refuse to get you and your family vaccinated and to refuse to wear masks and socially distance, please do not bother those who have taken those precautions when you turn out to be wrong. You clearly think you are smarter than the doctors and nurses who recommend that course. So, if they are wrong with what they tell you to do to prevent getting sick, dying or becoming disabled, and spreading the disease to your friends and loved ones, then don’t go to them later when your failure to follow their advice allows you to fall prey to this killer. Obviously if they weren’t right when they tried to do preventive medicine, how can you trust them when you are sick?

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