PhD candidate writes about dropping COVID-19 security measures for on-campus medical facilities.
It’s a harmful determination for Boynton to drop masks mandates, finish the COVID-19 testing program and restrict telehealth appointments as a result of it’s going to additional the unfold of COVID-19 in a spot the place individuals belief they are going to be cared for. There are sufferers who could also be medically susceptible and people who find themselves contagious and sick, all mingling collectively at Boynton Well being.
Healthcare amenities (and even the CDC themselves!) have lifted masks mandates and ended up with COVID-19 outbreaks. This coverage change makes it clear that the well being and well-being of these within the College neighborhood and their households doesn’t matter to Boynton nor to the healthcare staff who resolve to unmask.
This determination, made behind closed doorways, perpetuates harmful misinformation about COVID-19 and normalizes an ableist and eugenic ideology that asserts it’s okay to sacrifice the lives of susceptible and high-risk individuals. These healthcare induced infections will unnecessarily result in the unfold of significant sickness and even loss of life to susceptible sufferers. Conveniently, Boynton has additionally ended PCR testing, leaving no accessible strategy to take a look at for COVID-19 as soon as uncovered.
College students are not protected on campus in school rooms, workplaces and labs, and now are unprotected once they want healthcare. We anticipate healthcare staff to scrub their arms earlier than examinations, to put on gloves throughout surgical procedure, to make use of sterile needles and instruments.
So why not masks within the midst of a world pandemic that strikes by means of the air like smoke?
Years sooner or later, we’ll look again at these insurance policies with the identical disgust because the surgical procedures carried out with naked, unwashed arms and soiled instruments. Moreover, the College of Minnesota has office security necessities for all sorts of potential hazards and well being emergencies –– from publicity to poisonous chemical substances in labs to obligatory area security trainings. Why not require masking for a level-3 biohazard like COVID-19?
I took care of my dad who was going by means of most cancers therapy final yr and the worry and nervousness we each felt about COVID-19 publicity after we went to the physician for therapies was overwhelming. It’s exhausting to navigate the complexities of medical care, signs, prognosis and therapy –– not to mention navigating this care when your medical doctors suppose your life, or the lifetime of your family members, is disposable.
Whereas my dad handed away from most cancers problems final yr and never from COVID-19, I can solely think about the ache and grief individuals really feel whose family members undergo or die from completely preventable healthcare-induced COVID-19 infections.
Everybody advantages from insurance policies that heart entry and security for the immunocompromised, the chronically ailing, the disabled, the younger kids unable to be vaccinated and the aged. College college students have kids, are caregivers to those that are excessive danger, are pregnant, are immunocompromised or are going by means of therapy themselves. Even seemingly “gentle” infections in younger, wholesome, vaccinated individuals can result in critical and debilitating well being points. Vaccines usually are not as efficient in opposition to the present COVID-19 variants and their safety wanes shortly over time.
It’s irresponsible to have a coverage that states that solely in case you are COVID-19 constructive or sick that it’s best to put on a masks. It’s estimated that 40-60% of COVID-19 infections are unfold asymptomatically, so the brand new coverage gained’t even shield individuals from nearly all of transmission sources.
It’s additionally frequent for individuals to lie about their COVID-19 standing and signs. Healthcare staff attend their shifts when COVID-19 constructive. The one moral commonplace is for healthcare staff to put on high-quality, well-fitting, N95 masks –– not ineffective, unfastened becoming surgical masks –– to guard themselves and their sufferers.
The World Health Organization recently stated that one in ten infections of COVID-19 leads to serious post-viral health conditions (often known as “Lengthy COVID-19” or PASC) that can go away thousands and thousands of individuals unable to work or take care of themselves. COVID-19 infections harm our immune programs, leaving us on a cycle of sickness after sickness each few weeks or months.
It may infect our mind tissue and trigger reminiscence loss in younger individuals, just like dementia. COVID-19 lingers in our our bodies for months after seemingly gentle infections and causes deadly blood clots, coronary heart assaults, and strokes. It’s not akin to a chilly or flu and everybody ought to keep away from reinfection.
Over six million individuals have died of COVID-19 because the begin of the pandemic, with over 1,000 individuals dying each week in 2023 alone (possible a huge undercount). Masks work to stop unnecessary sickness and loss of life, and, regardless of Boynton’s declare to offer the “highest high quality of care” with “fairness, inclusion and respect”, they appear to be extra enthusiastic about succumbing to see strain and denial than the science behind COVID-19 unfold and, consequently, the well being and wellbeing of the College neighborhood.
Julia Brokaw is a Sixth-year PhD candidate on the College of Minnesota and was a main caregiver for her dad when he went by means of most cancers therapy final yr. ‘COVID Conscious Twin Cities’ contributed to the writing and modifying of this piece (@COVIDAwareTC).