News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Vaccinated and masking up

COVID-19 is going Delta and making a comeback. Here is how I’m responding and trying to help get it under control. Please consider your own response.

I accept the virus mutates and creates variants. Bomb-throwing accusations that a doctor or researcher lied because they said one thing earlier, and something else later, don’t help. In my teens, doctors operated on my right leg, already amputated below the knee, to straighten the femur. After seven months in a modified body cast, I could not walk. It was too painful. The knee cartilage had disintegrated. The doctors didn’t lie when they said the operation would help me. They were right, at the time. But my body changed. We looked at the X-rays together. It was clear. I needed another amputation. It turned out for the better.

This virus will change. We deserve straight, factual talk about Delta and other variants as they emerge. Which they will. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) needs to get its communications act together. The CDC’s message just went from masks off to masks back on. The data came later. That’s backward. The explanation should come before the action. The CDC’s latest message, a combination of higher vaccination rates and masking would flatten the infection curve in a few weeks.

I read and try to understand the supporting data. But that’s not my job. The CDC needs to explain its findings and advice in ways the public can understand. Politicians aren’t doing any better — starting at the top. The former and current president sent misleading or confusing messages. COVID-19 will not magically disappear. The pandemic did not end July 4. Both took a vaccine. They should appear together, on camera, and encourage eligible citizens to get the jab. Oregon has its own unsolved leadership issues.

Meanwhile, there’s Delta to deal with.

Information I rely on tells me the Delta variant is many times more infectious.

One of my sources is Dr.

Irwin Redlener, physician, pediatrician, and founding director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Earth Institute.

He’s careful to say what he knows today, not predict what he’ll know tomorrow.

In an interview for the Daily Beast, Dr.

Redlener reports someone infected with the original COVID-19 strain could infect another two or three people.

Someone with the Delta variant could infect five to nine.

On July 27, Oregon recorded 1,032 new COVID cases, roughly a recent week’s worth.

Hospitalizations increased 25 percent overnight.

Forecasts by Oregon Health & Science University and the University of Washington show Oregon’s winter infection and hospitalization levels could match last year’s.

Higher vaccination rates will help prevent that. Rates in this area are mixed. On July 30, the Daily Situation Update reported these percentages of fully vaccinated citizens in local counties: Crook, 51; Deschutes, 72; Jefferson, 56. The tri-county area is highly mobile. So is the virus.

I use two defenses: the jab, and the mask.

Vaccines work.

Reliable sources report 97 percent of newly hospitalized patients are unvaccinated.

That’s the point.

To avoid serious illness and hospitalization.

Vaccination does not guarantee I won’t be infected.

No vaccine is 100 percent effective.

Masking is my second line of defense against an unlikely, but possible, breakthrough case.

There’s video evidence for masking.

For example, on YouTube at (includes brief reference to condoms); or at (includes brief appearance of adult beverage).

You can skip the ads.

Consider this: Should a surgical team feel free to leave their masks off? Why? Then should we feel free to leave ours off during a COVID breakout? I don’t want anyone to become a patient like the ones described by Birmingham, Alabama, Dr.

Brytney Cobia.

“I’m admitting young, healthy people to the hospital with very serious COVID infections. One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late.”

I’m doing what I can to keep COVID inside the vaccine and masking control line until we contain it. Please do the same. Just asking. One viral wildfire was enough.


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