Our View: We, not me

Our View: We, not me
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The recent surge of COVID-19 in Alexandria – as well as the region and nation – is real. We just don’t know exactly how real, because many people are testing at home at this point and not reporting their illness. Or they’re recovering without seeking medical help from what is a mild case of COVID-19 without testing to confirm.

It’s going to become more difficult to get a PCR test in the city when Alexandria’s quick and efficient Curative kiosks, which conducted thousands of tests during the past two years, close at the end of this month.

Alexandria Health Director Dr. David Rose said in today’s page 13 story, “COVID–19 surge part of triple virus threat,” that it’s this surge combined with the flu – which started earlier this year than most – along with the currently unreportable RSV virus that has hospital emergency rooms overflowing and beds scarce.

Other factors in this surge include complacency and COVID burnout. We’re all “sick to death,” as the old saying goes, of COVID-19. We’re sick of masks, restrictions, canceled plans and lost productivity. In recent weeks, we have heard of people who refuse to test for COVID-19, even at home, when they have clear symptoms. Their logic is, “whether it’s COVID or not, I’ll stay home until I feel better and then go back to my routine.”

The trouble with this logic, and with the increasing refusal of many people to wear a mask in almost any situation, is that it puts others at risk. Instead of this focus on “me, Me, ME,” what we need is a good bit more “we” – regarding COVID-19 and a great many other things.

The data in the above mentioned story is sobering, largely because it confirms that the most vulnerable people in our society – the elderly – remain at great risk of dying if they contract COVID-19. Five seniors age 80 or older have died of COVID-19 in Alexandria in the last three months. Additionally, more than 1,100 “super seniors” have died throughout Virginia of COVID-19 in the past 13 weeks, according to the Virginia Department of Health website, out of 2,294 total COVID-19 deaths in that timeframe.

Those 2,294 souls represent more than one-tenth of the total deaths so far from COVID-19 in Virginia – a shocking number given that so many of us have resumed life pretty much as normal.

The other shocking finding from the last 13 weeks of COVID-19 data in Virginia is that 86% of those 2,294 deaths were of white, non-Hispanic residents. This is almost certainly linked to a refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Freelance journalist Thompson Eskew showed the strong correlation between vaccination rates and improved COVID-19 outcomes in an article in the July 21 issue of the Times, “COVID-19 data trends surprise.”

If you’ve refused the vaccine to date, please reconsider. Think of the octogenarian next door, or your great Aunt Myrtle you’re about to see during the holidays or your immuno-compromised office mate – and get the vaccine. You’ll be protecting yourself, and, more importantly, those who depend on others for their protection.

It’s not too late to “give it a shot.”