The Journal Gazette
 
 
Sunday, November 21, 2021 1:00 am

Golden Pen: October

Our selfishness keeps COVID–19 lingering

When did Americans become so selfish?

I keep hearing about people who are opposed to vaccine mandates, stating that it is their right to make their own personal health decisions, and I agree – when those decisions affect only them. However, in a pandemic our decisions about how to act or behave can have ramifications, not only on us individually but on everyone we interact with and everyone they interact with and on and on.

As an example, if you contract COVID, you would be contagious before you even realized you were ill, and everyone you spoke to or even breathed on in the days before you noticed you were ill could potentially catch it. They in turn would be contagious before developing symptoms – or may not even develop many symptoms – and the spreading would continue. Obviously, if you were wearing a mask, you would not spread as much of the virus, but you could still spread it.

Many people seem to think that if everyone gets COVID, we will all be immune and it will be over. Not everyone who contracts COVID suffers a severe case, but if they need to be on a ventilator for any length of time, their health will never be the same. Even those who escape needing a ventilator often go home tethered to oxygen tanks and have a lengthy recovery. Even those who do not require hospitalization are often left with ongoing fatigue. And of course, many die.

Also, there is no evidence that once you get COVID you will never get it again. I haven't even mentioned the negative economic impact on people's lives, or the fact that as long as this virus is circulating, there is the certainty it will mutate, possibly to a more deadly disease.

We must stop this pandemic, and the only way we can have any success is for everyone to get vaccinated.

About the author

Elizabeth Wolf of Fort Wayne, whose letter appeared Oct. 24, has been selected as the month's Golden Pen Award winner. In the judgment of the editors, she had October's most effective letter.

Wolf is a nurse emeritus at Parkview Randallia. She and her husband, Charles, have three children, three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Her presence in the hospital has offered Wolf insight on COVID-19 she believes others may not have considered.

“People who aren't involved don't realize all the implications of the pandemic,” she said. “The suffering people go through is just awful.”

In addition, Wolf points out, there is an entire care team (not just doctors and nurses) affected as well: “the patient care techs, the respiratory therapists and dietitians working to help those who've lost so much weight and are nutritionally depleted, ... the housekeeping staff (that) has to get to work cleaning the room to make it ready for one of the patients waiting in the ER, and the case managers working tirelessly to find placement at rehab centers or hospice. And many more.”

This marks Wolf's second time as The Journal Gazette's monthly winner; she was first awarded the Golden Pen in March 2019.

Wolf received a gold-plated pen for her efforts. The Golden Pen Award was established to express our appreciation for the contribution our letter writers make to the editorial page.


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