Well poo! Just when it looked like the pandemic was under control, we have the delta variant.
Oregon is one of the hot spots, although not in this part of the state. During the past week, there have been more new cases in the three counties at the south end of I-5 than here at the north end. The counties that hold Roseburg, Grants Pass and Medford had more new cases than the three counties that contain Portland, despite the southern counties having less than one quarter of the population of the three northern counties.
Those three southern counties have a much lower vaccination rate than the three here. Do you suppose that has anything to do with it? I saw this morning that some kind of survey found that almost half the unvaccinated people blame President Biden or the CDC or the vaccinated for the surge in cases. (I’m not sure what the logic behind thinking that the vaccinated are responsible, but perhaps logic does not play into it.) They put the rest of the blame on misinformation on TV and in newspapers or people not following masking and distancing rules.
We may be suffering, but of course Oregon is nothing like the Deep South. Oregon is down to 6% availability of ICU beds; Alabama has 0%. The hospitals across the south are close to the breaking point, and when that happens care is no longer available for victims of accidents or heart attacks or other problems unrelated to Covid.
It is really too bad that masks and vaccinations got politicized. I think it is poor policy to promote the illness and death of your supporters, but I’m not a politician.
Meanwhile, Andrea and I stay close to home, waiting for it to be over. I’ve lost count of the hotel reservations I’ve cancelled in the last 18 months. And there have been planned get-togethers with family that have been cancelled. We have three grandchildren too young to be vaccinated and want to protect them as best we can. We’re getting tired of this.
We’re all getting tired of this. We ate with friends last night at a picnic table outdoors near a pod of food carts. On the way home we passed a bar with a party on its back patio, with lights and loud music and lots of young people crowded together, drinking, partying. Perhaps they felt safer because it was outside, or perhaps they just didn’t think about it. But it’s easy for me to look down on a gathering like that because it wouldn’t appeal to me at any time, Covid or no Covid.
And perhaps that is the problem: It is hard for us to see ourselves in another’s situation, with their desires and constraints. It is easy for me to accept the advisability of wearing a mask because of my background and because of my nature. I’ve been vaccinated against rubella and polio and measles and mumps and seasonal flu and plague and tetanus and I don’t remember what else. (That reminds me: I still haven’t gotten my shingles shot.) Perhaps that makes it easier for me to trust the Covid shots. It can be a challenge to walk metaphorically in another’s shoes. Empathy can be difficult, and there are plenty of influencers working against it to further their own ends. Where would they be if they didn’t set Us against Them?
This journey through Covid is turning out to be a long one. In the beginning, I had hoped that it would teach us all how interdependent we are and how much we rely on one another. Now, I have my doubts that we are ready to learn that.
Stay well. Stay safe. As my mother would say: This too shall pass.