BLACK VACS MATTER

UPDATED Briefs ~ Good News, Bad News

(Part Two)
By Marty Lyn

Good news … for some … is that Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger announced lifting mask-wearing requirements come April 29th. Bad news is COVID-19 cases are on the rise, and COVID-19 variants are deemed deadlier and are spreading rapidly.

The News Chronicle chatted with District 4 County Commissioner, Warren Mackey. He said he understands mixed feelings across the county about the face-coverings debate.

“Businesses closed down or partially shuttered, and losing money for a year has been hard on their bottom lines. But for those who believe dropping precautions before we’re all vaccinated and COVID-19 is still going strong, the end of April is too soon for removing this mandate.” Mackey describes our status as “on the cusp,” and says “more time is needed to better assure a healthier County.” 

He was asked whether County officials are providing adequate outreach to disenfranchised Black Americans to aid the COVID-19 inoculation process, such as getting to shot sites. 

Mackey said, “No. We are not. Even though we have a capable (Health Department) team in place, churches are making inroads, and volunteers are extremely valuable, we have to get more creative. A lot of African Americans don’t trust the vaccine, lots of others are distrustful of the government and feel it’s their right to refuse it. And too many seniors who do want it need help to get to where the vaccines are. Outreach has to improve.”

He brings up how in first grade, it was clear that for public school attendance, vaccinations were a must. Even then, he remembered, some families didn’t agree. “Now, the choices are get vaccinated, or risk COVID. There’s no guessing. We know the outcomes are worse for Blacks who contract the virus. The alternative is too often, death. The alternative to not vaccinating is possibly infecting people you care about.”

More Good, Bad, & Debatable News

1. COVID-19 Passports of a sort could become required for some travel, domestic and international. Some countries are already unwelcoming wanna-be-travelers by suggesting … No Vaccination? No Vacation!;

2. Vaccine hesitancy among seniors is lessening, but as eligibility for lower ages expands, seniors may have more difficulty getting into a shot line;

3. With vaccine hesitancy still strong however, there are worries that supply could begin to exceed demand;

4. President Biden predicts more than half the U.S. population will be vaccinated by this weekend. As of Wednesday morning, 45 to 50% of Americans had yet to inoculate;

5. Psychiatric journals studying COVID-19 longterm ailments are publishing that in post-recoveries, brain, lung, heart and other maladies linger for longer, and are more serious than thought. Also, one-in-three seeking therapy or counseling are citing the pandemic shut-in and economic issues as top reasons for depression, domestic and other violence, and childhood acting-out.

Some attributions to these few news-bites include The Center for Disease Control; The Hamilton County Health Dept.; Johns Hopkins institutes; CNN & MSNBC.

Next week, perspectives and updates from front liners at the Hamilton County Health Department. And, what will the post-COVID Workplace look like? Also, more than 1,200 very young children participated in vaccination trials over several months. Did you get the memo that such even existed? Did any black children take part? More in next issue. 

The News Chronicle strongly encourages getting your vaccine first chance, Black Vacs Matter!