hi it’s been a while i’m in public health hell

cannot emphasize enough how important it is to get vaccinated and minimize contact with other people, even when vaccinated

my perspective on delta as a public health worker 

as a person who works closely with a county public health department, i am often privy to an internal perspective that is less accessible to the general public.

currently, that narrative in my county heath dept is as follows:

delta is aggressively spreading, and hospital beds are filling. if you haven’t already, return to lockdown procedures to the best of your ability. yes, even if you and everyone you know is vaccinated.

my perspective on delta as a public health worker 

there are fewer healthcare workers than before, with many of our first responders from 2020 incapacitated or no longer with us. in many counties, beds are full. unvaccinated folks are not immune to delta, and we do not know what long-term complications look like for vaccinated folks who get covid.

currently chances of being hospitalized with delta if vaccinated are still near-zero. vaccination rates are still frighteningly low.

my perspective on delta as a public health worker 

we are on track to run out of ventilators and sedation if the influx of hospitalizations continue, which they no doubt will. we are back where we started in the winter of 2020, and winter’s not even here yet.

my personal concerns for the fall/winter of 2021 

i want to emphasize that what i’m about to say is personal conjecture and not rhetoric from a heath department:

i am deeply, deeply concerned that we are going to see children begin to be hospitalized and experience increased mortality from delta this winter.

schools are in session. community transmission is high. delta is far deadlier and far more infectious than its predecessor. i’m deeply worried about our youth population.

delta is a very real threat for folks of all ages 

i’ve been strongly opposed to the rhetoric of “young healthy folks survive covid” since the beginning of the pandemic, as i don’t fuck with that ableist garbage, but the average age of folks being hospitalized is going down. delta is a different breed. if you are unvaccinated, or your loved ones are unvaccinated, i am begging you to get the vaccine. we are seeing young people enter the hospital and not come out.

let me give you some personal anecdotes about my health org’s workforce:

90%+ of our staff are vaccinated. we have over 750 employees in our region’s health centers. 10% of our health center staff was at home, quarantining, with covid, on 08/04/21. that number has increased in the last two weeks.

this is in a workplace that is following hospital procedure, with n95s, minimal contact, and strict testing/quarantining measures.

we are blessed that i haven’t heard of any of those folks being hospitalized. but we have had to reduce hours, appointments, and access to our health services because we simply don’t have the workforce.

imagine this situation at hospitals, in ICUs, in covid wards.

folks love to talk about survival rates as though that number exists in a vacuum. the theoretical % chance for someone to survive covid isn’t the issue. it’s having a ventilator, nurses, beds, and medication to treat a person to give them the best chances for survival.

as of today, if you’re vaccinated, you most likely will not be hospitalized if you get delta.

but the five to nine folks you infect may not be as lucky.

There’s this measurement of infectiousness that we use to describe pandemics you may have heard of, called “R0”. It’s essentially the number of people that a person with a disease will infect. The inital covid strain that spread throughout the US had an R0 between 2 and 3.

Delta has an R0 of 5 to 9.

It’s hard to explain how exponentially massive this is.

And in the US, only 52.9% of people are vaccinated.

We are at a tipping point, and the most terrifying part of it all is that folks who were being careful, who were cautious the first time around, no longer are.

It’s not even their fault: the relaxing of covid procedures and the reduction in aid for folks who are unemployed, the end of the nationwide eviction moratorium… this is a systemic issue.

It’s terrifying sitting in these meetings, hearing these numbers, and watching families gather in parks and young people relax downtown while I drive to the health center.

There’s no awareness of what’s happening in hospitals, no public outcries, no consistent messaging about returning to lockdown.

Nothing is more terrifying than the dread of knowing something is coming, and seeing the rest of your community walking towards it headfirst.

I don’t know if my ranting will make a difference, if sharing my fear will make any impact, but I hope it does. Every day I hear from someone else who’s vaccinated, who’s young, who’s been cautious, who’s tested positive. Every day I hear about another loved one whose unvaccinated relatives have moved from their home to the hospital, from a covid ward to the ICU, from oxygen to ventilator.

I’m so tired. I don’t want to watch what’s coming. I don’t want to watch more people mourn.

I’m gonna get back to work. I care about you all very much and I hope the coming months are kind to you and those you love. I’m thinking of y’all even if I’m not on here as often. :heart_trans:


@bee oh friend this is what I was afraid was happening 💔

Sending so much love and courage and kindness your way 💜 :sparkles_indigo: :QueerCatHeart_Trans:

Please let me know if I can ever send material support like food or supplies or anything

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