[guest post by Dana]
As the U.S. surpassed 300,000 virus-related deaths, Covid-19 vaccines rolled out this week:
The vaccinations started after the F.D.A.’s emergency authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Friday night. On Sunday, trucks and cargo planes packed with the first of nearly three million doses of coronavirus vaccine had fanned out across the country, as hospitals in all 50 states rushed to set up injection sites and their anxious workers tracked each shipment hour by hour…145 sites were set to receive the vaccine on Monday, 425 on Tuesday and 66 on Wednesday.
A majority of the first injections given on Monday are expected to go to high-risk health care workers. In many cases, this first, limited delivery would not supply nearly enough doses to inoculate all of the doctors, nurses, security guards, receptionists and other workers who risk being exposed to the virus every day. Because the vaccines can cause side effects including fevers and aches, hospitals say they will stagger vaccination schedules among workers.
Meanwhile, many Americans, who recognize that they are fortunate to still be able to bring home a paycheck, find themselves having to maneuver in risky environments. Texas Monthly has published a disturbing report about the tricky balancing act that a wedding photographer must continually strike, and what happens when the virus-ignorant take the cake:
The wedding photographer had already spent an hour or two inside with the unmasked wedding party when one of the bridesmaids approached her. The woman thanked her for still showing up, considering “everything that’s going on with the groom.”
When the photographer asked what she meant by that, the bridesmaid said the groom had tested positive for COVID-19 the day before. “She was looking for me to be like, ‘Oh, that’s crazy,’ like I was going to agree with her that it was fine,” the photographer recalls. “So I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ And she was like, ‘Oh no no no, don’t freak out. He doesn’t have symptoms. He’s fine.’”
The photographer, who has asthma and three kids, left with her assistant…Her exit was tense. The wedding planner said it was the most unprofessional thing she’d ever seen. Bridesmaids accused her of heartlessly ruining an innocent woman’s wedding day. She recalls one bridesmaid telling her, “I’m a teacher, I have fourteen students. If I’m willing to risk it, why aren’t you?” Another said everyone was going to get COVID eventually, so what was the big deal? The friend of the bride who’d spilled the beans cried about being the “worst bridesmaid ever.”
After the photographer left, she canceled her Thanksgiving plans with family, sent her kids to relatives’ houses so they wouldn’t get sick, and informed the brides of her upcoming weddings that she’d be subcontracting to other shooters. A few days later she started to feel sick, and sure enough, tested positive for COVID-19. She informed the couple. “But they didn’t care,” she says. They didn’t offer to compensate her for the test, nor did they apologize for getting her sick.
The photographer who got sick after shooting the COVID-positive groom said her experiences throughout the pandemic have left her a little depressed. She recalled one conversation from that wedding, before she left the reception. “I have children,” she told a bridesmaid, “What if my children die?” The bridesmaid responded, “I understand, but this is her wedding day.”
The report goes on to note that wedding photographers double-up their safety precautions by wearing face shields over their masks. They also have hand sanitizer on them as well. Unfortunately, the nature of the beast is that, although guests may adhere to local mask mandates at the beginning of the event, once the alcohol starts flowing, caution is thrown to the wind.
Unbelievably, the pesky debate over *wearing a mask continues to be a part of the American conversation. But given the ignorance and denial about the virus by so many, it’s unsurprising. I realize it’s anecdotal, but in my personal experience, trying to convince virus-deniers that 300,000 deaths in less than a year really weren’t the result of car accidents is right up there with trying to convince Trumpers that he really did lose the election.
Unfortunately, there also continues to be some awful reactions when local leaders support mask mandates – even in towns that have meat-packing plants that employ thousands of people:
A western Kansas mayor announced her immediate resignation Tuesday because of threats she has received after publicly supporting a mask mandate.
Dodge City Mayor Joyce Warshaw said she was concerned about her safety after encountering aggression, including threats via phone and email, after she was quoted in a USA Today article Friday supporting a mask mandate, The Dodge City Globe reported.
“I understand people are under a lot of pressure from various things that are happening around society like the pandemic, the politics, the economy, so on and so forth, but I also believe that during these times people are acting not as they normally would,” Warshaw said.
The commission voted 4-1 on Nov. 16 to impose a mask mandate, with several exceptions.
Ford County, where Dodge City is located, has recorded 4,914 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to the state health department. The county has about 33,600 residents.