Good morning. I hope everyone enjoyed the Labor Day Day Weekend!
The weather was wonderful! I, myself, enjoyed the extra day off and spent much of the weekend gardening and watching sports. In particular, I watched the US Tennis Open. There were so many incredible matches.
The weekend was also the start of the college football season. Go Gamecocks! For both the tennis and the football, the fan crowds were amazing to see...and it got me thinking...
Speaking of football, I'm sure everyone remembers the movie "Jerry McGuire." I think the iconic line, "show me the money," may be driving the insanity of our Covid situation right now. I think insanity is the best word to describe what is going on. There was a Wall Street Journal Opinion piece last week titled ,"You are Living in the Golden Age of Stupidity."
I think instead of stupidity, we are surrounded by lunacy. Hospitals are literally bursting at the seams, especially in Charleston. Hospitals are paying outrageous sums for travelling nurses to keep up with the demand on the hospitals. There are unspent funds in the prior Covid relief bill that instead of going to hospitals, are going to assist illegal immigrants at the southern border.
The escalating Covid case numbers and the hospital utilization crisis are leading local schools to shutter their doors and convert back to virtual learning, which has proven to be disastrous for our youth. People are fighting about mask mandates, and at the same time European countries and airlines are allowing only n95 masks and have banned cloth masks for their ineffectiveness.
At the same time, with case numbers rising with a variant which is more contagious and lethal to younger patients and pregnant women, cities like NY are FINALLY opening up, now!?
The stands at the US Open are packed with unmasked spectators. But the players, themselves, have to wear masks before and after their matches. Many of the matches are indoors, with fans yelling and screaming, and yes, spreading those respiratory droplets! The argument for the unmasked fan base at the Open is that vaccination is required, but at the same time the CDC and Dr. Fauci keep telling us that even the vaccinated can get sick and be silent spreaders, ushering in the new movement for booster shots.
Additionally, people are walking around with fake vaccine cards, and if those vaccinated, in let's say January, have lost their immunity, and now need a booster, is proof of vaccination enough?
On the other side of the equation we have, for example, SEC football. While I am a huge fan of SEC sports, most of the SEC schools do not require students to be vaccinated, and all of the beer chugging and Sandstorm cheers of the approximately 60k fans in Columbia appear to be perfect vectors for Covid.
My criticism is not really with the sporting events but the inconsistencies. We are seeing mask usage increase at the grocery store and in schools, but all bets are off at these huge venues. And while a football game may be outside, I don't think you can compare a friendly round of golf to being packed into a football stadium.
There was so much concern for healthcare heroes a year or so ago, but now, with things as bad or worse as they've ever been in the hospitals, nobody seems to care or recognize what healthcare providers are facing. And let's not forget that the reason for the lockdowns in 2020 was to prevent over-burdoning the healthcare system.
Have Americans, who tend to have short memory spans, simply moved on and gotten tired of Covid? Or is it more of a Jerry McGuire moment: "show me the money?" Or is it both?
There have been limitations placed on elective surgeries in Charleston, so you can cheer for your Tigers and Gamecocks with thousands of your closest friends but not receive elective surgery that may be needed but not emergent.
I am as ready as anyone to truly put Covid in the rear view mirror. Unfortunately, the current healthcare situation requires me to continue all of our Covid policies, and require masks and temperature checks.
Maybe the take home message for today's blog is a recognition that we've gotten to a place where Covid is truly becoming the new flu. Healthcare providers have had a healthy respect for the flu and the devastating effects the flu can have for years.
Healthcare providers have advocated the flu vaccine, and it has been required for healthcare workers for years. Pre Covid, schools or school systems may have had temporary or limited shut downs when the flu would run rampant through a class or grade, but the American populace moved on with its business as usual and there was little hoopla in the media when this would occur.
The nightly news was never dedicated, night after night, to flu case numbers or death counts. So if Americans want their sporting events, college life, and a necessary return to business to continue, there need to be some acknowledgements.