COVID-19 Nightmare Refuses to Stop Health Care System Strained to the Edge

Cataldo Ambulance COVID-19 specialist Nicholas McKenzie takes a nasal sample of an area resident. (Photo by Jim Mahoney)

Facing Another Winter of Our Discontent

By Josh Resnek

The rapid spread, again, of COVID-19, augmented by the superspreading of Omicron, has caused the Massachusetts National Guard to be deployed to hospitals and ambulance services to help with a staffing shortage that has left the state’s health care system strained amid a extraordinary surge of the COVID virus.

Also, Hospitals with less than 15% of their staffed medical-surgical and intensive care unit bed capacity available must postpone or cancel non-essential, non-urgent scheduled procedures likely to result in inpatient admissions to comply with a new Department of Public Health order issued Monday.

The holiday weekend was marred by thousands of airline flight cancellations at airports around the nation that stranded tens of thousands of travelers.

College and professional sporting teams have been forced to reschedule games, and in some instance, the games were cancelled.

In Greater Boston, dozens of restaurants and some colleges and universities have closed temporarily or returned to on-line instruction for the next several weeks.

Here in Everett, the public schools remain open with a mask mandate in force for teachers and students and all employees of the School Department.

Reports have surfaced that many residents who have been vaccinated have come down with COVID-19 and or the new Omicron virus making its way around the world at a dizzying pace.

The Omicron virus can kill and has already taken lives wherever it appears. However, epidemiologists do not believe the new virus will impact hospitalizations and deaths dramatically. However the appearance of yet another pandemic style strain of virus spreading like wild fire added to COVID-19 has many scientists and health care administrators deeply concerned that this winter could be a health care disaster.

There is the depressing feeling that COVID-19 is here to stay for a long while.

The world has changed.

The State House has been closed to visitors for 650 days!

For a long while in 2020-2021 the world seemed to stop for several billion people.

Economies plunged. Life as we know it changed dramatically.

Economies began a comeback. Government’s printed money and poured trillions into the effort to maintain social and financial stability.

Shopping centers, restaurants, movie theaters and every kind of crowd attracting commercial ventures have gone bankrupt and in some cases, have entirely disappeared.

The new debate about vaccinating or not is also hampering getting the COVID-19 under control.

About 30% of the American public has refused or bothered to become vaccinated. The national debate about whether to vaccinate or not has caused disruptions in the business world and among those who live in so-called red states and blue states.

The majority of those dying now and who are hospitalized with COVID-19 are those who have not been vaccinated.

Also, the age group now least dying are those 70 and over, proving the efficacy of older people surviving nicely after vaccination.

In Massachusetts and Everett, older people, about 95% have been vaccinated. The largest group of COVID deaths is now in the unvaccinated 29-45 age group.

We urge our readers to get vaccinated, to socially distance, and to wear masks.

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