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Opinion: COVID-19 a real problem in this nation, on many fronts
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People are tested for the COVID-19 virus Friday, May 15, 2020, in the parking lot of the Flor de Jalisco supermarket. State leaders spent time at the site in Gainesville’s largely Latino business district on Atlanta Highway as they sought to learn more about the area’s unique issues with and reaction to COVID-19. - photo by Scott Rogers

 I just found out that Joey Kastner, the head of White County Animal Control had died from COVID-19. He was only 36 years old.   

Then this morning, I learned that a neighbor had been quarantined from school because someone in her class had tested positive.  

I wish more people would take this pandemic seriously. I’m 76 years old and in good health for my age but being elderly puts me in the high-risk group.  

When Dr. Fauci makes recommendations involving this pandemic, I follow them.  Being retired means I can stay home as much as possible, but when I do have to go out, I keep my social distance.  I wear a mask and often wash my hands.  I keep Clorox wipes in my car and when I go into a store, I take one wipe with me.  

I am not an anti-vaxxer. At my annual checkup this month, I was given flu and pneumonia shots and then was sent to my local drug store for the first of two shingles shots.  

I accept as fact that vaccines, when developed properly, benefit society.  That said, I’ve lost confidence in the acceptance process for COVID-19 vaccines and this morning read an article where my feelings seem to be common.  

Not long ago, the CDC was the global gold standard when it came to dealing with viruses, and it has been turned into a political propaganda machine. Scientific reports have been altered by non-medical appointees before being released, and I no longer accept them at face value.  I want to believe the vaccines being developed will be safe and have efficacy, but my trust has been weakened in the current process.  

“Polls show a troubling drop in the number of Americans who would be willing to take a coronavirus vaccine. A survey published last week by the Pew Research Center found that 51 percent of Americans would either probably or definitely take a vaccine, down from 72 percent in May,” according to a New York Times article.  

This is not good for the nation.  Few if any vaccines are 100% effective, and if a significant portion of our population does not get vaccinated, this pandemic will continue and so will the deaths.  The CDC and FDA need to be run by scientists and medical professionals, and politicians need to give them free rein. 

Jimmy O’Neill 


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