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The COVID-19 pandemic that has killed over 815,000 in the United States passes its 2nd year without an end in sight. Tragically, as a result of the pandemic, the life expectancy in the United States fell in 2020. Overall, it fell from 78.8 years in 2019 to 77 years in 2020; the pandemic played a part in the most significant change in life expectancy since WWII. In addition, COVID was listed as the third leading cause of death in 2020.
Health agencies did their best to keep the public informed, despite President Donald Trump’s every attempt to thwart the truth. Americans heard about this unknown virus when it hit epidemic levels in China; the 2019 novel coronavirus soon became a pandemic. On Feb. 11, 202o, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the disease’s name: severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) or COVID-19.
Once the virus became a pandemic, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) told everyone that there are basic ways of remaining infection-free: social distance, maintaining a clean environment, covering coughs and sneezes to minimize spraying respiratory droplets, and wearing a mask. These guidelines remain in effect.
Other rules have been set and then changed, causing annoyance and distrust in the CDC’s ability to define the method to move beyond COVID-19. It is unfortunate that, for whatever reason, people fail to remember this was a new virus and that scientific data and real-life case studies continue to offer new or updated insight into effective methods to combat infections.
For example, on Dec. 27, 2021, the CDC announced new isolation guidelines for people who tested positive for COVID-19 but were not exhibiting symptoms (asymptomatic), five days instead of 10. This announcement follows another that halved isolation time for health care providers.
Trump’s supporters are the first to attack CDC changes, fomenting doubt that the agencies do not know what they are doing. They use this to further their position that the COVID pandemic is a political tool the Democrats use to remain in control of the government.
Unfortunately, Trump and his administration misinformed the public about the devastating virus from the beginning. He knew how deadly COVID was but soft-pedaled its threat. “I wanted to play it down. I still like playing it down because I don’t want to create a panic,” he said during an interview with journalist/author Bob Woodward for his book “Rage.”
Not only did he minimize the threat, but Trump mocked the virus calling it the Kung Flu and China Virus, which further minimized the reality that COVID-19 was highly contagious, deadly, and to some — sentenced to living with debilitating side effects known as “long haul COVID.”
Trump encouraged his loyal followers to refuse to comply with any guidelines or mandates for masking or social distancing. And they continue to loudly revolt against anything having to do with the pandemic.
He inflamed their resistance by claiming the COVID pandemic was a Democratic hoax designed to change voting rules. Republicans referred to the need for mail-in voting as “scam-demic.” They were sure voting by mail was not about “the deadly disease,” COVID-19. Instead, they contend the adaptation was an illusion that necessitated panic-driven changes to how Americans could cast their ballots.
Trump’s refusal to follow the basic protocols ended with a trip to Walter Reed Hospital to treat a COVID-19 infection.
After a tumultuous year with an anti-science president, President Joe Biden was elected. There was a sense of urgency in his response. His approach to the pandemic was direct. His team resurrected the non-existent vaccine roll-out that Trump initiated.
In 2021, COVID vaccines were approved. The president and health officials encouraged everyone to get the recommended doses; two for either the Pfizer or Moderna brand shots or one injection of Johnson & Johnson. By Nov. 2, 2021, everyone ages five and older are eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations, and three weeks later, everyone 16 and older is eligible to have a booster shot.
Approximately 16.7% of 5-11-year-olds had received at least one COVID vaccine dose a month after this age group was approval. Just before Christmas, 61.7% of adults 18 and over were fully vaccinated (not boosted).
Vaccines, booster shots, wearing a mask, social distancing, and other essential guidelines are most effective in preventing COVID-19 infections. Since many people do not understand how vaccines work, they believe the COVID shots will keep them from becoming infected. However, no vaccines, not measles, mumps, rubella, etc., will protect a person 100%. Believing the opposite, they may have dropped some precautions after being vaccinated, which could account for breakthrough illness, but not entirely.
Infection rates have climbed in the past weeks. The COVID pandemic’s 2nd year passes without a concrete plan to end seemingly neverending coronavirus cases.
Vaccines, booster shots and COVID test kits are free of charge to everyone eligble in the United States regardless of insurance or immigration status. Vaccinations save lives — book a vaccination appointment.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
NPR: Trump Tells Woodward He Deliberately Downplayed Coronavirus Threat; Host Rachel Martin
Richmond Free Press: Mail-in voting is part of a COVID-19 ‘scam-demic;’ by Catherine Crabill
Beckers Hospital Review: States ranked by percentage of population fully vaccinated: Dec. 23; by Katie Adams
Kaiser Family Foundation: An Update on Vaccine Roll-Out for 5-11 Year-olds in the U.S.
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