Pat Sadoski: We will live with COVID for a long time unless more are vaccinated

Do we really want to repeat all those months of lockdowns and separations?

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) People are vaccinated against COVID-19 at the former Provo High School gym at 1125 N. University Ave. on Wednesday, July 28, 2021.

Less than 50% of Utah residents are fully vaccinated, and the percentage if far lower for those ages 12 to 18. Guess which age group is most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus?

Unless we wake up and get many more people vaccinated, we are doomed to live with this for a very long time. The longer we delay preventing the spread the more prevalent it becomes and the more opportunity it has to mutate into more voracious strains that make us sicker. This virus is very powerful and will likely be a part of our existence for a very long time.

Have we learned nothing? Are we so foolish as to let this aggressive virus once again fill our hospitals and shut down our restaurants because we stubbornly do not want to listen to science? If we don’t pay attention, we are destined to make the same damn mistakes over and over again.

In some ways, it is already too late. We have let the summer slip by without getting a substantial number of our kids and young adults vaccinated. Please don’t be fooled that only the elder and infirm will meet their demise. Now with that population being far more protected by the vaccine, the population now filling our hospitals with the more virulent delta variant are 30 to 50 years of age.

If they manage to survive and go home, will they be able to go back to work and play and hike as before? Who will pay their massive hospital bills? If we once again fill the hospitals with COVID patients, will we again stop elective surgeries and stop allowing dads in the delivery rooms? Is digging your heels in and listening to your neighbor who likes to spread less-than-factual information rather than seeking information from health departments and reputable medical sources really worth it?

How about the kids who really didn’t do so well with the home-schooling Zoom sessions? What about the kids who don’t have help at home? Or the ones who never tuned in?

Do you really want our knucklehead legislators telling us how to behave and forbidding institutions in Utah to insist on masks, vaccinations or social distancing? How much are you willing to lose? Maybe it’s OK for poor old sick Uncle Ray. How will you feel when it is your 24-year-old pregnant daughter, forced to have a C-section? Or when the virus attacks your 42-year-old husband or your 60-year-old mother?

Do we really want to tax our health care systems and the dedicated workers once again only because we are too stubborn to toughen up and get the vaccine? It is 95% effective in keeping you from becoming deathly ill. The delta variant is more aggressive at causing us sickness than all previously known viruses, including the flu of 1918, and as contagious as chickenpox.

Let me take another approach. How fun was last Thanksgiving and Christmas? How did your daughter like missing her prom? Or graduation? Were you able to see and hold the newest member of the family or did you have to wait months, get gowned up or risk the mom and baby’s well-being? My heart ached for the families who could not be at the bedside of their dying parent, grandparent, sibling or spouse as they took their last breath. And it was too risky to get together and have a funeral.

Last year in Utah we had far fewer children hospitalized with respiratory syncytial virus in ICUs. We are not expected to be that lucky this year with the lack of vaccinated adults and the population not wanting to wear masks.

I don’t want any of our Utah legislators deciding anything about my health and welfare, as they have proven to not believe scientific information and to be completely hung up on “the freedom” to not wear a mask, which has proven to be one of their more foolish considerations. Who do they think they are saying our mayors, superintendents and governor cannot mandate masks?

I want to listen to our state epidemiologist. Who do you listen to?

Patricia Sadoski

Patricia Sadoski, Logan, is a retired nurse and senior advocate.