With the Delta variant of the coronavirus raging worldwide, and Humboldt County not doing well ("The Barnstable Effect," Aug. 5), why are there still so many refusing to get vaccinated or wear a mask? Three reasons seem to be: "I want to wait and see;" "I don't trust doctors and pharmaceutical companies;" and, "Mask and vaccination mandates are an infringement on my rights."
The wait-and-see period is long over. Statistics do not lie. The caseload numbers are publicly available and are updated daily. As soon as vaccines were available and distributed, new cases, hospitalizations and deaths decreased dramatically. Now that a new, more infectious, variant is spreading, new cases are rising just as dramatically, nearly all (97 percent) among the unvaccinated. What is there to wait for and see? More unnecessary, preventable sickness and death.
Will those who "do not trust doctors" and refuse to be vaccinated refuse the medical treatment and medications that can save their lives when they contract the virus? I doubt it. Medical workers everywhere have been selflessly fighting the virus for more than 18 months, saving hundreds of thousands of lives while putting their own at risk. Having no compassion for them is appalling.
Considering the mandates for keeping people safe and well to be an "infringement of one's rights" is not valid. We have laws against causing others bodily harm. Speed limits are enforced, drunk driving is against the law, as is arson, property damage and countless other crimes that can land us in jail. There are no objections to these laws for being an infringement on the perpetrators' rights.
Wearing a mask and getting vaccinated are simple ways to prevent spreading a possibly lethal illness to others. Refusing to do so is selfish, uncaring and inhumane.
Bonnie Burgess, Eureka
A recent report shows that the capacity of our local hospitals is being threatened by a patient surge due to the COVID Delta variant ("Health Officer Reinstates Mask Mandate in Humboldt as Cases Skyrocket," posted Aug. 4). Statistics indicate that well over 90 percent of these patients are typically unvaccinated.
This creates a problem for two reasons.
First, if a hospital is overwhelmed with COVID patients, there may be limited beds available for patients with other serious conditions; and it's unlikely an out-of-the-area hospital will be able to handle the overflow for similar reasons.
Second, when a hospital approaches capacity due to COVID, it places an extra burden on medical staff who must work more hours with sicker patients. Such pressure often results in staff quitting with ensuing shortages, thus compounding problems for the hospital, and possibly limiting admittance overall even if beds are available.
So if you are one of the nearly 50 percent unvaccinated county residents, consider a shot. Getting vaccinated will greatly minimize your chances of catching COVID; and if you do, it's unlikely you will be hospitalized. Conversely, if you remain unvaccinated and become infected, you could be responsible for a seriously ill friend or close family member being unable to find hospital care regardless of their specific medical need.
Sherman Schapiro, Eureka