By Ralph E. Moore, Jr.
Face it, we’re all a bit tired of wearing masks, getting vaccinations, keeping our distance, avoiding travel, not hugging and hearing depressing news about the spread of COVID and the entrance of yet another variant on the horizon (next is monkeypox?).
It is scary enough that over 1,000,000 citizens of the United States have died from the “2019 novel corona virus.” That staggering number is out of 83.2 million cases. According to Worldometer Info, a website which provides real time world statistics, there have been 6,300,931 deaths across the globe out of 527,839,431 cases of infected persons.
The multi-millions of deaths and diseased are in staggering numbers, disproportionately high here in the United States. Our public health experts were undermined from day one by the occupant of the White House; his irresponsible VP and other government officials (other than Dr. Anthony Fauci of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases), who muddled their statements of the impending danger to keep their jobs or kept silent when folks were urged wrongly to drink bleach as a cure. Folks were discouraged from wearing masking and from keeping social distances. Vaccinations and booster shots were reduced to matters of “personal freedom” rather than cooperation with the public’s health protection. Clearly, if more persons had worn masks, had not gathered in large “super spreading” crowds and had gotten vaccinated and boosted, we would now have fewer cases to look back on and far fewer deaths.
And, as if COVID is some kind of roller coaster, it is very much on the rise again! The Director General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently warned, “The COVID 19 pandemic is most certainly not over.” He further stated, “We lower our guard at our peril.” It is surprising and yet somehow not shocking to read a remark of his for the opening of the WHO’s annual meeting this year, “Reported deaths are rising in Africa, the continent with the lowest vaccination coverage.”
Here in our home state, COVID cases are going up yet again. In Baltimore City alone “We are in the midst of a surge,” Dr. Crystal Watson said at a recent press conference. She is a Senior Associate at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “…it is still important to be actively vigilant about preventing infection.”
Be careful out here. COVID is all around us all. As of May 21, 2022 there have been 1,784 COVID deaths in Baltimore City out of 118,569 cases. Relatives, close friends and neighbors of mine have all gotten it.
Go the Baltimore City Health Department’s website (www.virus.baltimorecity.gov) for information on where walk up clinics to get vaccinations are-no appointments are need. All vaccinations for COVID are 100% free in Baltimore City. The BCHD recommends that “all eligible residents receive the mRNA vaccine-Pfizer or Moderna for their first two shots. Boosters are also strongly suggested. If anyone has questions about COVID vaccinations, one can call 443-984-8650 or email email@example.com. Free COVID home testing kits are distributed at Pratt public libraries in the city from time to time (Call the library nearest you) or go to the federal government website, COVID.gov to have some mailed to you at no charge.
Dr. Letitia Dzirasa is the Commissioner of Health for Baltimore City. Please heed her advice to do all you can to take care of your health. She has been our city’s Health Commissioner since 2019. Dzirasa holds a B.S. degree from the University of Maryland in Baltimore County and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Meharry Medical College.
When Dr. Dzirasa speaks we should all listen. In a recent TV interview, she urged all to please don masks again, move events to outdoors and to get vaccinated and boosted. “We have gone from a low level of infection recently to a medium level. At the rate we are going in a few weeks we could be at a high level of infection and mandated indoor masks could be seriously considered for recommendation to the Mayor.”
We need to beware, be very aware of this current rise in COVID in whatever form it may appear. It remains to be seen if we must learn to live with this dreaded disease. But in the meantime, we must be smart and wear our masks, gather outdoors, get all the shots we qualify for and keep on guard. “I understand the fatigue,” Dr. Dzirasa said recently. But the choices are narrow: you can be sick or tired. Pick one smartly. COVID doesn’t care about you.
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