Vaccinate to make N.C. great

Published December 30, 2021


Make America great starts with making North Carolina great and that starts with working to make our communities the best they can be. That’s about pitching in, helping out and supporting those who provide basic and essential services that help us through our daily lives.

It boils down to acting first with concern for the welfare of those we live with – strangers as well as neighbors, friends and family. Personal liberties and rights grow from the strength of our communities and not from selfish divisiveness.

There are few threats to personal freedom greater these days than the COVID pandemic. And the answer to those threats isn’t assertion of narrow personal rights that put the good of the community in jeopardy.

It is the understanding – as this state and nation has shown in other times of great challenge – that focusing on the common good strengthens or most cherished liberties and rights. Get vaccinated. The greater good infinitely outweighs the minimal risk.

Real patriots are listening to the scientists and medical experts.  

True lovers of liberty are taking the steps necessary not to overburden our medical care facilities so they can best tend to those in most urgent and critical need of care.

 Real rights advocates look to help those essential workers – whether they are public safety workers or emergency responders; educators in our schools and on university campuses; service personnel in grocery stores, pharmacies and other places necessary for the conduct of our daily lives and communities.

There is no waiting or bickering. The time for truly acting to make American great is now -- as the pandemic’s spread increases.

1 out of every 5 people who got a COVID test result in NC on Sunday tested positive.” The headline only tells part of the story.

It is not insignificant that 22% of those who tested for coronavirus the first day of this week were positive.

It is the overwhelming evidence that the COVID pandemic has placed enormous pressure on critical parts of our society that we too-easily take for granted:

*    Medical and emergency professionals who care for our most fragile;

*   Educators and childcare workers who look after our most tender and ignite future potential;

*   Those in the service industries who work to try to keep our lives something close to normal in these most unusual of times.

It doesn’t take much to help. Wear a mask. Keep your distance.  Get tested for the coronavirus.  Get vaccinated.  No big deal.

But to a potent minority – egged on by expedient politicians pushing perverted notions of freedom and individual rights exploit reflexive bias for partisan advantage. It elevates selfishness above shared concern for our community with a disregard for truth, science and common sense.

It leaves America and North Carolina weaker and depleted -- 19,310 North Carolinians, 820,000 Americans, 5.4 million globally dead from coronavirus – so many needlessly.

Facts matter:

*     25% of the people who are hospitalized in North Carolina today are there because of COVID – and most of those COVID patients have NOT been vaccinated. Every Duke Health patient in the ICU or on life-saving treatment is unvaccinated for COVID.

*     Children ages 10 to 14 have the highest COVID-19 case rate in North Carolina. Since the surge in cases from the coronavirus' delta variant in August, 10- to 14-year-olds have seen the highest rates -- 871 cases per 100,000 people — the highest case rate for any age group since the pandemic began.

*     3,820 MORE people died so far this year from COVID (11,580 total) – when a vaccine has been available for nearly the entire year -- than the total 7,760 who died from the virus in 2020.

North Carolina’s legislators have passed laws that foster bickering not consensus. Their actions have transformed local Board of Education meetings into unruly shouting matches and even violent confrontations.

Rather than fostering confrontation, legislative leaders should push to make schools and other community facilities places for prevention where there are vaccine clinics and testing services for workers, students and their parents and caregivers.

Gov. Roy Cooper is right to require state workers under his direct authority to either be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. It is a common-sense policy that should be adopted throughout state and local governments. Private employers should embrace the reasonable federal mandates.

Those exploiting phony arguments about individual rights need to stop. They are responsible for thousands of needless deaths – destroying families, leaving too many to unnecessarily mourn the loss of friends and family members and leaving too many children without parents and too many parents to cope with the loss of a child.

For those who truly value the rights of everyone in their community, it is way past time for them to embrace – and work toward -- ending the spread of COVID. Get vaccinated now.