CCP Virus, CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, coronavirus, COVID 19, health care, hospitals, Im-Politic, mask mandate, masks, Omicron variant, Politico, vaccine mandates, vaccines, Wuhan virus
If there’s emerged an Exhibit A as to how completely incoherent the nation’s public health establishment and medical systems have become on dealing with the CCP Virus (including its super-infectious but generally mild and often asymptomatic Omicron variant), it’s an article yesterday in Politico headlined “Health care workers are panicked as desperate hospitals ask infected staff to return.”
As is so often the case, moreover, this virus-related trend and its fallout has been reported without any allusions to the incoherence. And practically all of the muddle is expressed in the very first paragraph, starting with the very first half of the very first sentence:
“While most health workers are vaccinated, many are still falling sick, exacerbating a staff shortage as more Americans seek hospital care. The reliance on employees who may still be infectious comes despite objections from nurses‘ unions and the American Medical Association, which warned the decision puts patients’ health and safety at risk. And there are no requirements that patients be notified if their caregiver is sick.”
Presumably, when reporter Rachael Levy writes that “most health workers are vaccinated,” she means “fully vaccinated” – including boosters. Yet “many are still falling sick.” Readers never learn how many or, more important, what percentage. But it’s no doubt lots – indeed, enough to create and worsen staff shortages.
That alone should blow a big hole in the various sweeping “vaccines work” claims used, notably, to justify mandates for the jabs, especially since these health care workers by definition must overwhelmingly be individuals young enough and free enough of the special medical conditions to be able to avoid illness serious enough to render them too infeebled to report to work — much less to threaten grave illness or death.
But the headline indicates that the concern of the “panicked” health care workers isn’t simply that the colleagues who believe they should be staying home are crawling in, uncontrollably shedding pathogens and threatening staff and patients alike, and/or are physically incapable of performing their duties adequately.
They’re also concerned that these colleagues are “infected” in the first place.
Yet these worries are loopy for any number of glaringly obvious reasons. For example, if infected health care workers are asymptomatic, they should be fully capable of doing their jobs. In addition, the evidence so far seems to show that most virus victims don’t spread the pathogen (see, e.g., here and here), and when they do, they’re most contagious very early in their infections.
That last point is crucial because it’s behind the latest guidance for health care facilities issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As Levy (thankfully!) reports, this advisory allows such providers “to bring back workers after five days of isolation, instead of 10, without a negative Covid-19 test.” What’s more, “In cases where workforce shortages become extreme, hospitals can bring back staff without any isolation period.”
Stranger still: Presumably the health care workers who so fear their supposedly irresponsible colleagues are, according to their own definitions, behaving very responsibly themselves. In other words, they’re surely individuals who are both fully vaccinated and dedicated mask-wearers.
If they’re vaccinated, of course, it’s now clear that their protection against infection is far from perfect, but that their protection against severe illness and death is very good. That is, if they do get infected, and since they are young-ish and strong-ish, they’ll recover fully and pretty quickly — assuming they experience any symptoms at all.
Further, since they work in hospitals, they’re almost certainly also wearing the kinds of masks that are highly effective in preventing infection, not the cloth masks worn so widely outside hospitals that even the CDC has found provide pretty ineffective protection. So have the worried workers now joined the “vaccines and many masks don’t work at all” camp?
It’s true that the Omicron variant may be a virulent enough spreader to confound both vaccines and boosters and even high quality masks, at least to a significant degree. But if this is the case, to date, the health effects of Omicron spread look much too weak to justify panic or even close for anyone without specific vulnerabilities.
Yes, hospitals are full of people with such vulnerabilities – the patients. But the CDC guidelines contain recommendations for dealing with them.
Not that the CDC has covered itself with glory throughout the pandemic. Or that this specific approach that it’s taken to the health care system will keep everyone involved fully protected.
But as one hospital CEO quoted by Levy reminds, “We don’t have good choices — or the choices that we want.” A new consensus seems to be emerging in the nation that America has to “learn to live” with the CCP Virus. Unless it’s believed that somehow the health care delivery system should be an exception (and should be crippled until somehow something close to Zero Covid is reached without it?) hospital workers need to follow this advice, too.