August 5, 2021
New Orleans, These are tough days to be living in Louisiana. We’re leading the country in new cases of the delta variant of Covid-19. Our hospitals are bursting at the seams. There are rumors, likely true, of people being turned away from emergency rooms. There are stories, absolutely true, of people waiting in emergency rooms for eons because of the crisis overwhelming facilities, staff, and beds.
Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards apologizes to the nation almost daily now for our shameful inability to get vaccinated and do right to protect ourselves and our community. Our caseload is now higher in this fourth surge of the coronavirus than at any other time in the pandemic.
Some of the hesitant are getting the message and embracing life, which is to say, rolling up their sleeves. Reportedly, four times the number of people are now lining up for vaccinations. The incentives didn’t move the needle, but raw, unbridled fear is doing the job now.
Have we learned our lesson? Are we really sorry? I’m not so sure about that.
The Attorney General Jeff Landry, a blatant self-promoting Republican Trumpster, circulated advice in his department for how state employees could subvert the governor’s mask mandate. Are we able to speak with one voice to fight the virus now? Not sure about that either.
Louisiana State University didn’t join the 600 other colleges and universities so far that have imposed mandatory vaccinations for students and staff. Instead, LSU announced that it would require a monthly test from unvaccinated students. Monthly, are you kidding? How absurd. Meanwhile, at the same time, the governor stated flatly to the press on the same day that LSU would require mandatory vaccinations once the FDA removed the emergency designation from the vaccines. Who is on first? What’s on second?
Schools are opening in New Orleans and around the state. There is a mask mandate in place for schools by the Orleans School Board, but we daily send our children into charter hell. The KIPP high school across the street from my house is teeming with students in class and on the football field and no masks are in evidence. It’s do-your-own-thing and kill-your-neighbor week!
In Louisiana, we have to wonder who are the anti-vax radicals among the political class representing. Not small business and service industries for sure. With the festival season coming up in short months, I’m already seeing friends step back and reconsider visits, if not canceling altogether.
No politician, including our governor, will shut the state down now, and I’m not saying they should, but we need to do better. Apologizing for our lax vaxxing isn’t enough. It’s actions, as always, not words, that matter the most for all of us to achieve public health.