Hospital Corner – March, 2021
How quickly the world has changed. COVID-19 cases have dropped off the charts since January. Why? Not because everyone suddenly became mask-compliant, began washing their hands religiously, or maintained six feet of separation while in public spaces. You know why. Whether you believe that COVID-19 is real, that vaccines are effective and safe, or that this is all some nefarious government plot, the fact is that people are no longer dying at rates reported late fall and early winter. Those with COPD, CHF, or other underlying conditions are not falling ill at tragic numbers, destined for a lengthy hospital stay. No magic fairy dust was sprinkled over us to make the troubles of the past year disappear. Only one thing has changed that brought us to where we are today: a vaccine.
Science made this possible. Not too many centuries ago, folks who didn’t believe in science considered the earth to be flat, angels moved planets about the heavens, and supernatural forces kept humans from floating off into space (gravity, ha!). Scientific discovery has cleared up these myths and so much more since then—and continues now as this pandemic nears its end. Science benefits our lives in countless ways, yet many pick and choose the science they believe in. Is science sometimes wrong, sure—but rarely so. Nevertheless, the non-believers among us cling to those rare errors to deny the lethality (or even existence) of coronavirus, vaccine safety, and so much more (smoking doesn’t cause cancer; seatbelts don’t save lives…should I go on?). The proof is out there yet some stubbornly refuse to accept it regardless of the evidence. In America, we are all free to believe and behave as we wish, so long as it doesn’t put others at risk. Hope we can at least agree upon that (communities and society in general are founded on just such a consensus).
Apologies for bluntness but we are, as March comes to a close, in the proverbial eye of the hurricane. If the unvaccinated go about their merry way without taking the aforementioned precautions, we could soon be back where we were in 2020. Many are now protected but more still remain vulnerable. New strains will likely continue to develop but current vaccines still provide some level of protection (which is certainly better than none at all).
So much for my sermon! The good news is that Mineral County has more than its fair share of COVID test kits and vaccine; even better, you have a choice of vaccines: two-dose Moderna or one-shot Johnson & Johnson. Anyone 18 and older is eligible to receive them. What could be easier? Few places in Nevada or nationally have it as good as we do when it comes to the weapons available to fight back. All you have to do is take advantage of it; nearly a quarter of county adults have done so already (more than 90% of those over 70!). Sadly, because local vaccine demand has slowed, we’ve been forced to donate doses (before they expire) to other counties with greater demands, but plenty remain in Hawthorne. A sore arm or mild flu-like symptoms for a day or two is a small price to pay for ensuring you and those you love stay healthy. Enough said.
Free at last! Lefa L. Seran nursing home residents have been on a few outings in recent weeks, a welcome break after a year of confinement. We still avoid public interactions but bus rides around town or over Anchorite to view the snow-capped Sierra have done wonders for those in our care. Visits to specialists in Fallon and Reno have resumed as well (new eyeglasses; hearing aids fixed). By appointment, family and friends are now able to meet with residents. Return to full normalcy is still weeks, if not months away, but getting closer. Stay healthy everyone.
Hugh Qualls, Administrator