SURRATT: New COVID outbreak affects all of us

Published 4:00 am Friday, August 6, 2021

It seems we’re in the throes of what could be another wave of COVID-19 enhanced by the Delta variant of the virus.

The primary cause of this new situation, according to the medical experts I’ve read, is many people have refused to take the COVID vaccine, causing more people to contract the virus and fall seriously ill.

This increase in the number of cases has again begun to push hospitals and medical staff to their breaking point, where they are once again running out of bed space.

The crisis is serious enough in Louisiana for Gov. John Bel Edwards to issue a mask mandate, and according to a story in the Baton Rouge Advocate, the Louisiana Department of Health reported the state has set a new record for COVID-19 hospitalizations with 2,247 patients.

Locally, Mayor George Flaggs Jr., who admitted he did not get the COVID vaccine, said Monday he tested positive for the virus and Wednesday issued a mask mandate for city employees.

At the rate things are progressing, we could all be back under a mask mandate very soon. Personally, I don’t want to go through that again, but if it means keeping me and my family safe and healthy, let’s go ahead and get it done.

But what I’m more concerned about is that many people have not been vaccinated against the virus, causing the resurgence of COVID-19. The excuses as to why people won’t do it are as varied as to why many people refuse to wear masks despite the advice of medical professionals.

Personally, my wife and I have both received the vaccine, and if a major needle-ninny like me can sit in a chair and get stuck, anyone can.

The vaccine is available at no charge at two pharmacies in town and all someone has to do is walk in, sign up and wait. Unless there is some medical reason, there is no real excuse why someone can’t go and get the first of the two shots that can provide some protection against the virus.

Can I still catch COVID? Yes, and that includes the Delta variant. But my situation will be less severe than someone who didn’t take the vaccine.

Now, I can hear the arguments coming referring to all the stories on Facebook and other social media sites. My policy with Facebook comes straight from Marvin Gaye’s “Heard it Through the Grapevine”:

“Believe half of what you see son, and none of what you hear (or read).”

And there is the argument of some that getting the shot and wearing masks “infringes upon my freedom.” Think of this: not getting vaccinated and wearing a mask takes away a person’s freedom to be free from disease and be in good health.

On Jan. 6, 1941, then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his State of the Union speech said the United States had a responsibility to fight for four universal freedoms people the world over ought to enjoy. 

The fourth freedom was freedom from fear. That’s the most important freedom we can have. And people who refuse to get vaccinated or wear their masks take that freedom from all of us.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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