Red U.S. Counties, Like Africa, Simply Must Get Vaccinated

The world community is acting with resolve to the news—not totally unexpected given the large swaths of the world not yet vaccinated to COVID–that the omicron variant is likely to be the next major wave of the pandemic. It was only a matter of time before a mutated version of beta, and Delta, would emerge given the low vaccination rates in certain parts of the world.

There was no missing messaging from Isreal about their attitude towards this new variant.

Israel will forbid the entry of noncitizens for two weeks, starting at midnight Sunday night, in an attempt to stem the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant in Israel and to allow experts time to assess its level of transmissibility and resistance against existing vaccines.”

The United States, like a long list of other countries, restricted travel for non-U.S. citizens from South Africa and seven other countries. But the fact is the world community is simply reacting to events.

Dutch health officials said on Sunday that they had found at least 13 cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant among 61 infected passengers who had arrived in the Netherlands from South Africa on Friday.

The time for proactive measures were the months the world community had to vaccinate the masses.

This all follows the World Health Organization assigning the newly identified variant the Greek letter omicron and formally recognizing the strain, previously referred to as lineage B.1.1.529, as a “variant of concern.”

The New York Times reported how the new variant was named.

“When it came time to name the potentially dangerous new variant that has emerged in southern Africa, the next letter in alphabetical order was Nu, which officials thought would be too easily confused with ‘new.’”“The letter after that was even more complicated: Xi, a name that in its transliteration, though not its pronunciation, happens to belong to the leader of China, Xi Jinping. So they skipped both and named the new variant Omicron.””

While the quick actions from around the world will be part of a needed plan of action in an attempt to stem the further spread, it is only through the use of vaccines that the world population is protected, and from that outcome, fewer hosts to the virus will then limit future mutations.

The problem is, however, that coronavirus infections are increasing from France to Fort Atkinson while vaccination rates are lukewarm, and there is simply an underwhelming administration of boosters. (Your blogger and his husband have booster shot appointments in just a few days. I strongly encourage my reasoned readers to follow suit.)

In the United States, there is much evidence to prove that where Donald Trump won by a larger margin in 2020 are the counties in which vaccination rates tend to be lower. As an example in Waushara County, Wisconsin where I was born and moved away from at age 20, only 41% of the populace has been fully vaccinated.

The county is heavily Republican and easily led astray from facts. In the 2020 presidential election, they voted 66% for Donald Trump. Now by almost the same percentage, the county refuses to be vaccinated. Trump refused to recognize the severity of the virus and undermined efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus such as encouraging the use of masks. His followers would prefer to be sick, infect others than admit science and medical professionals know more than their political icon.

Kaiser Family Foundation released on Sept. 28 data to show that gaps in vaccination rates across racial and ethnic groups have virtually disappeared–but gaps reflecting political affiliation have widened substantially.

Of Americans surveyed from Sept. 13-22, 72% of adults 18 and older had been vaccinated, including 71% of white Americans, 70% of Black Americans, and 73% of Hispanics. Contrast these converging figures with disparities based on politics: 90% of Democrats had been vaccinated, compared with 68% of Independents and just 58% of Republicans.

The fact is that every red county in this nation has readily available access to vaccines. There is not one logistical reason not to be vaccinated. A bone-headed decision to place partisanship above science is just further proof of what we already know about this demographic in the nation. Sad and pathetic are just the most obvious terms to use in their depiction.

Meanwhile, in Africa, the overall figure for those fully vaccinated is currently at about 6%. In many cases that is due to nations being low-income countries, and struggling with vaccine supply and health infrastructure issues. Not for the first time does this blog remind the world community of its responsibility to the less economically-able nations, and the requirement of mass vaccinations if the world economy is to truly rebound.

Red counties in the United States need to know they are connected to the pandemic solution as much as nations in Africa. The only way out of this pandemic is by being committed as a world community to fighting it. The US economy will not rebound completely until there is a true measure of resolve from all sections of the nation to make it happen.

Red counites like to talk about patriotism as they fly the flag. But when it comes to putting actions to their words Trump Republicans demonstrate their hero-worship means more than combatting the virus, restoring the economy, and securing the health of their communities.

And so it goes.

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