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Letter: Public health professionals and others deserve our support

Hedman writes, "So many have died or suffered, and I grieve about that. Meanwhile, people we respected turned a blind eye to common sense and science. While all leading health experts endorse the necessity of vaccines and boosters for those who are able, many deny it and spread misinformation."

Letter to the editor FSA

Many ask about the COVID-19 pandemic, “When will this end?” I don’t know. Public health experts seem to agree it will likely become endemic, meaning ever present, such as with influenza. People are sad, angry, and dog-tired. Public health professionals and others need our support. They may not dare write to The Forum and while I don’t speak for them, I hope to write a message that will cause a few to look at their personal and leadership decisions and consider a re-set.

So many have died or suffered, and I grieve about that. Meanwhile, people we respected turned a blind eye to common sense and science. While all leading health experts endorse the necessity of vaccines and boosters for those who are able, many deny it and spread misinformation.

Mayors, legislators, school administrators and business owners do not protect you when they refuse to mandate masking in public spaces in areas of high disease spread. North Dakota and Minnesota remain so. Unvaccinated children and people with compromised immune systems are vulnerable. And they are not protected. Vaccines are only part of the answer. Health care professionals are not immune from my criticism. Those like me who have had a science-based education should be masking in public spaces modeling this wise and easy choice. Instead, people follow the unmasked crowd.

Testing is not sufficient. The World Health Organization advises a test positivity rate of 5%. In North Dakota, test positivity rates are much higher. This means not enough testing is being done. I am grateful for the Cass County Public Health Testing Center. If you have been there, you can agree their efficiency is a marvel. Unfortunately, not everyone can access this site easily and it is only open weekdays. The virus doesn’t pause for weekends or holidays.

There are times in the past nearly two years when it has been tempting to shut down, stop reading, and try look away from disease and death caused by a worldwide pandemic. Sometimes it is necessary to pause to take care of your own health. And as much as it tempts me, I can’t right now. Please consider the decisions you have made, rest when you must, get support for your grief, be vaccinated and wear your masks.

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Terri Hedman is a registered nurse living in Fargo.

This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

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