Archived Opinion

Our public health crisis is not over yet

Our public health crisis is not over yet

Allison Richmond • Guest Columnist | Haywood County is struggling to cope with a very unusual situation, two separate states of emergency happening at the same time. A month and a half ago, historic flooding brought loss and anguish to our community, and while that is devastation enough, for nearly two years now COVID-19 has threatened the health of every one of us.

It has damaged the health of those who suffer prolonged hospital stays or long-haul cases, and in fact, has taken the lives of 136 precious souls.

It is understandable, given all that we have been through, to feel a certain fatigue toward the reality of the situation we find ourselves in. 

It is not, however, excusable to believe there is nothing that can be done about it. Just as efforts are being made to heal the lives and properties of those damaged by the storm, we all have a part to play to help ease the crisis that COVID-19 has created. 

Two simple measures can help get us out of crisis mode and into a situation that is more manageable. 

The simplest thing that everyone can do is to wear a mask any time you are in public, around people who do not live in your house. The most dangerous places can also, unfortunately, be the places we tend to feel safe, like at churches, in social settings, or at close friends’ homes.

Related Items

We trust each other, but viruses don’t care. It doesn’t know the difference between trusted friends, loved ones, or church family. It happily spreads amongst us before symptoms can be felt or apparent to everyone.

By the time you feel sick, it is too late, you’ve probably already infected someone else. Mask wearing prevents you from spreading the virus in that time before symptoms appear. 

The other very effective tool we have to get us out of this COVID nightmare is vaccination. No vaccine is 100% effective, but being vaccinated will help to keep you from developing a severe case of COVID if you do get it. The vaccine is safe, and it is working. Nearly all COVID hospitalizations are for people who are unvaccinated. 

We don’t need to fear COVID, we need to fight it. Unlike in the beginning, now we have the tools to do so, we just need to choose to use them. The current level of infection in this community means everyone is affected somehow, even if you never get COVID.

The healthcare system, public health, hospital and EMS are overrun, which affects the quality of healthcare for everyone. When EMS units are so busy that they are not always available to answer calls in a timely manner, anyone can be affected by this crisis. In some cases, health care is being delayed or even compromised.

As the pandemic has progressed, we learned that stay-at-home orders have worked, but at a cost that is not sustainable or preferable. More than a year in, fatigue has set in, and we no longer want to face the fact that COVID is taking its toll.

At this time, most cases are happening when family members bring the virus in from outside the home, usually from work, group activities, gatherings, and events. The new case rates have slowed some over the past week. That is a trend we want to see continue. We can contribute to this positive progress and ease this crisis significantly if we all do our part.

If you haven’t been vaccinated, we strongly urge you to consider it again. Talk to your loved ones and friends who are vaccinated. Talk to your doctor. Consider all your options and make an informed choice. At the very least, wear a mask in public.

For those who are vaccinated, share your experience. Encourage vulnerable loved ones to consider vaccination. And wear your mask as an example and as an extra protective measure. 

(This article was written by Allison Richmond on behalf of Haywood County Health and Human Services. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

Leave a comment

2 comments

  • The "health crisis" is a lie. Period. Masking has been shown, several times over, to be completely ineffective in preventing the spread of viral disease. That is a fact that has been known for decades.

    The stay at home orders have simply driven more spread by confining people into small volumes of air. They are completely ineffective.

    The fake vaccines are quite dangerous. An FDA committee stated that the vaccines have killed two people for every one saved. Vaccine injuries are also underreported. The CDC has been caught changing the numbers on VAERS, just as they falsely reported the number of deaths from the WuFlu.

    In short, the entire things has been a lie from start to finish. It's long past time people woke up. Including the editorial staff of the SMN. Learn what science is, because you are not following any sort of science, just a bunch of lies told for political impact.

    posted by Quartermaster

    Monday, 10/18/2021

  • Great piece. Explains our current situation perfectly.

    posted by Susan Grimm Florence

    Saturday, 10/16/2021

Smokey Mountain News Logo
SUPPORT THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN NEWS AND
INDEPENDENT, AWARD-WINNING JOURNALISM
Go to top
Payment Information

/

At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.