Wednesday letters: Keep your guard up, Holiday Baskets program, ‘trust’ the experts, unvaccinated facts

Keeping an eye on omicron

First of all, I would like to wish you and yours a happy holiday season.

We are keeping a close eye on the developing impact the omicron variant may have on our hospital and community. As with everything COVID-19, there is a lot yet to learn, but it does appear omicron is much more contagious than other variants thus far.

It looks as though it has the ability to some degree to evade both natural immunity and vaccinations, though those who have received boosters have increased protection.

If you have not received your booster, I would strongly encourage you to do so. Some reports also show the variant may cause less severe disease, but this is also very preliminary.

We are watching for advisories from the CDC and CDPHE, but in the meantime, it may be appropriate to take extra precautions for the next few weeks.

Watch for and report any symptoms you may have yourself so you can get tested. Consider wearing a mask, and, most importantly, continue to practice good hand hygiene.

Get your booster if you have not already.

Thank you for the continued sacrifices you have made; together we can beat this.

I don’t know what the future holds for us, but think it prudent to discuss and prepare for all scenarios.

Dr. Kevin Coleman

chief medical officer

Grand River Health

What could go wrong?

As we wrap up another year of tribalism and confirmation bias, a good motto for 2020-2021 is “trust the experts” or “stay in your lane.”

This is especially true in two areas:

• Education: Do not question school leadership. Trust them to always do the right thing and never put their personal or union interests above your child. Disregard the decline in U.S. performance globally, despite continually spending more money per pupil.

• Health: Do not question health authorities. Trust them blindly to know what is best for your individual health. Do not question the “one-size-fits-all” approach to health.

I don’t think we should stop there. We should all “stay in our lanes” and let experts go unquestioned in other fields:

• Geopolitical: Do not question the intelligence community. Trust them to always do the right thing and never get us into bad situations.

• Government: Do not question lifelong politicians. Trust them to always put their constituents’ interests above their own. And don’t ever look at their personal investment history as it correlates to policy they pass.

• Finance: Do not question your wealth adviser or accountant. They are experts and would never make a mistake or do something nefarious.

• Banking: Do not question your loan terms. Bankers are experts in this field and would never be conflicted between fees they can earn and best terms for you.

Disregard the financial crisis and predatory lending. Disregard Afghanistan, Vietnam, Iraq, WMDs, etc. Disregard CDC vaccine injury reports. Disregard politicians constantly coming into office with humble beginnings and leaving millionaires. Shut up and just trust the experts. What could go wrong?

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

— Aristotle

Chase McWhorter


Holiday Baskets program a joy to behold

What a joy to arrive at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Basalt on Dec. 15 and be met by Anne Blackwell, chairperson of Holiday Baskets, and bags upon bags of gifts.

For the second year, English In Action has participated in this program, and our hearts are full of gratitude. Volunteers, including one of our own, John Burks, an English In Action tutor, loaded up presents to be distributed among our participating adult immigrant students and their families.

As students came to our office to pick up gifts and gift cards, they shared their appreciation and gratitude. In total, 36 adults and children were our recipients this year, and the gifts certainly help ease the strain that many of our hardworking families face.

“I thank you from the bottom of my heart,” said one student, upon seeing the beautifully wrapped packages filled with practical necessities, joyful toys and gift cards to put towards holiday meals.

While our mission at English In Action is to help immigrants learn English and develop the skills they need to pursue their dreams, connecting them to resources and opportunities to acknowledge that they are welcomed and valued in our community is of large importance, too.

We are very grateful to all the Holiday Baskets volunteers and donors for their generosity and for the greater message of care and compassion this program communicates in our valley.

Angela Hanley

English In Action Group Tutoring Programs manager


Unvaccinated facts

Some 50 million Americans are currently unvaccinated for COVID-19. Most of those people are likely to be vaccinated for other maladies, such as measles, flu, Td (tetanus, diphtheria), rabies, Tdap (whooping cough), shingles, Pneumococcal (PPSV23, PCV13), HPV and meningitis.

We hear that some 80% to 90% of patients currently hospitalized and receiving intensive care are unvaccinated. Unvaccinated are six times more likely to contract COVID-19. Unvaccinated are 11 times more likely to die of COVID-19. Unvaccinated people infect other people more than vaccinated people, because they carry virus longer.

Nurses, doctors and other health care workers in hospitals suffer from infections, burn out and suffer PTSD from constantly treating COVID-19 patients. Many are quitting health care.

Many of the nation’s hospital critical care facilities are full and turning away patients, in part because they are understaffed. I was told of a person who recently contracted pneumonia and could not be admitted to a hospital for lack of beds. They died. They could have lived if treated.

People in the regular and social media are claiming that COVID-19 vaccinations don’t work. Some are saying that the vaccinations are causing health problems.

Most unvaccinated people claim to be Republicans and voted for Trump. Many unvaccinated people claim that no authority of any kind can force them to be vaccinated. They say their personal health is entirely their own concern.

Unvaccinated people claim that the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights provide complete liberty that cannot be diminished in any way.

Patrick Hunter



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