CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky’s voice cracked as she described what drove her fears of what she sees as a new wave of infections hitting the United States in the coming weeks.
“I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom…right now I’m scared,” Dr. Walensky said. “I know what it’s like as a physician to stand in that patient room, gowned, gloved, masked shielded, and to be the last person to touch someone else’s loved one because their loved one couldn’t be there.
“I know what it’s like when you’re the physician, when you’re the healthcare provider, and you’re worried that you don’t have the resources to take care of the patients in front of you. I know that feeling of nausea when you read the crisis standards of care, and you wonder whether there are going to be enough ventilators to go around and who’s going to make that choice. And I know what it’s like to pull up to your hospital every day and see the extra morgue sitting outside.”
After three months of dropping the Covid infection and hospitalization rates have started to increase again, mirroring the start of an increase in Europe a few weeks ago. Dr. Walensky has asked that people continue to follow CDC guidance around masking and social distancing as vaccinations continue.
President Biden has asked that governors restore mask mandates if they took them away–or impose one if they never had one.
To be clear, neither Dr. Walensky or President Biden has called for shutdowns or business closures as a part of their requests. Dr, Walenkey seemed to imply that following the protocols could reduce the need for such actions.
I hate frigging masks. I hate sitting in my damn house every damn day. I hate taking a mask with me when I run in case I might need one. It’s stupid and annoying. And for the moment, it’s necessary.
As many things as Gavin Newsom has screwed up as governor or California, he’s gotten on thing right: openings and lockdowns should be data based. As the numbers go up, restrictions should increase. As they go down, restrictions should decrease. Fear, intuition, or “common sense” about what numbers might do in the future shouldn’t dictate what happens. We will always live in a world where Covid rates might go up, so we have to act when they do go up.
Governors and state legislatures should also take the opportunity to develop crisis management plans that include a framework of data-based actions, based on something other than a governor’s or set of bureaucrats whims. Now that we’ve been through this, the arbitrary nature of such restrictions, based on executive fiat, is unnecessary.
When you’re told you can play catch with an American mini-football, but not a regular football or that you can go to the store to buy liquor and lottery tickets, but not seeds (which eliminate a need to go to the store down the road when the food grows), you can be excused for thinking there’s no rationale behind the restrictions–and including an established appears process when someone has a reasonable complaint.
That said, Dr. Walinsky is correct. She wasn’t a jerk about it. She was effectively begging people to wear masks and get vaccinated. If you’re put off by that, maybe you need a supplement for your paper-thin skin.
Finally, to Dr. Walinsky’s demeanor during her statement, read the quote at the top of this post. All of it’s included for a purpose. Most people have no idea what it’s like to live that life. By the end of the year, if not sooner, the mental-health bill will come due for what those people have had to see and do to get us through this.
In a perfect would, she’d have been as stoic as Mr. Spock during her update. If there’s one thing we can all agree on, the world of the last 12-14 months has been anything but perfect.
Using Dr. Walinsky’s demeanor as a reason to disqualify her or what she said is a weak-stream attempt to mute the discussion.
The bottom line remains the same: please wear a mask when you’re out in public. Follow the (recently loosened) CDC guidelines. Please get vaccinated.
None of these things are the mark of the beast. For a country that used to have the draft, but doesn’t, they’re minor things to ask.
If you have a problem with that, lighten up.