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Senior Older and Wiser By June Michel

HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF. We know when there were no vaccines against Covid-19 eighty percent of all deaths were seniors. With the advent of vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson we were able to keep fully vaccinated people alive. But a large portion of the public refused to be vaccinated. The group is referred to as "vaccine hesitant", an umbrella term that includes people who decided that they are young and healthy so they did not need a vaccine, some people believe political statements that downplay the pandemic as a falsehood and others. Predictably, 95% of the covid sick patients jamming our hospital emergency rooms are not vaccinated. Their refusal to help the nation fight a public health pandemic allowed the covid-19 virus to mutate to the new delta variant.

THE DELTA VARIANT: The delta variant is different from covid-19 in the same way the flu is different each year. The virus changed some of it's characteristics to make it more easily transmitted by coughing and sneezing. The World Health Organization and the CDC started educating the public about keeping safe by wearing a face mask because the delta variant spreads so much easier. Again, a percentage of the population decided that wearing a facemask during a pandemic is not a public health practice but rather by telling them what to do, we were infringing upon their freedom of speech. So they held large rallies and parties without wearing facemasks and predictably caused the current huge spike in new coronavirus infections. This behavior directly impacts you. Our doctors have taken to the airwaves warning us that the hospitals and staff are overwhelmed, they are running out of room and the staff is stretched thin. More importantly, because they are so overwhelmed with coronavirus cases doctors are worried that seniors and heart patients will not seek medical treatment.

WHAT TO DO? The government has looked at the cost to society of the health crisis caused by people who refuse medical advice to get vaccinated and who then seek medical treatment in our emergency rooms. They sought a way to get the attention of intentionally unvaccinated people. From county to federal government, employees are now mandated to get vaccinated or seek employment elsewhere. Delta Airlines has just announced it is charging unvaccinated employees a $200 a month premium on top of their medical insurance to cover the cost when they predictably contract covid. This is not small potatoeor the website Business Insider estimates that "Trump's bill would have cost nearly $650,000 out of pocket, between experimental drug treatments, his hospital stay, ..." That's Six hundred fifty thousand dollars. Even if we say but he was president, my care would only cost a third of that, that's a medical bill of over $300,000. The vaccine is free from the government.

WEAR YOUR MASK: Fully vaccinated seniors still must protect themselves from the coronavirus. You have no way of knowing the vaccine status of the person next to you in the checkout line or on the bus. Right now there are three steps to protecting yourself, get your vaccination, wear a mask and get the booster shot when it becomes available. You can also become proactive by helping the State to warn of virus exposure risk. There is a cellphone app called WA Notify that is free to download to your phone and will securely notify you if you have been exposed to someone who tested positive. Here is the link to an informative YouTube video, WA Notify or

Remember, you read about it in THE FACTS NEWSPAPER