Amid a pandemic that has brought wave after wave of uncertainty, frustration and conflicting information, it has become awfully easy to become cynical and suspicious. Just look at how even …
Amid a pandemic that has brought wave after wave of uncertainty, frustration and conflicting information, it has become awfully easy to become cynical and suspicious. Just look at how even medications and immunizations have become a partisan issue.
For instance, one Republican lawmaker suggested last month that the Wyoming Legislature should lead a push to treat COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine, despite the Food and Drug Administration cautioning against its use.
Also in November, Park County Health Officer Dr. Aaron Billin said he’s heard of people who plan to refuse to take a COVID-19 vaccine because it was developed in partnership with Republican President Donald Trump’s administration.
“Unfortunately, that’s been politicized, just like everything else,” Billin told county commissioners.
And don’t even get people started on masks and mandates.
Certainly, the issues surrounding COVID-19 and public health orders are complex and controversial — and a robust debate over it all is healthy. But amid the various arguments and counterarguments, it seems we’re more and more frequently losing sight of an important fact: That health officers and other medical workers are trying their best to keep people safe and care for patients, especially the vulnerable.
In an appearance earlier this month on KODI 1400 AM’s Speak Your Piece, Park County Sheriff Scott Steward defended Dr. Billin, who’s come under fire since instituting a mask mandate in November. Steward has his own skepticism about the effectiveness of masks, but he stood behind Billin’s motivations.
“He’s just looking out for the people,” the sheriff said on KODI. “He’s not out there trying to steal your rights or erode your rights.”
Unfortunately, Steward said, the whole situation has put Billin in a bad position.
The same goes for other healthcare workers, too, from CNAs to doctors to managers.
If the pandemic has seemed endless to you, imagine working in public health, at a hospital or a clinic for the past nine months. If you hate wearing a mask for 20 minutes at the grocery store, imagine having to wear full personal protective equipment for a 12-hour shift.
Our healthcare workers have faced more stress, long hours and difficult decisions than we can understand.
As our local hospitals report feeling the strain of COVID-19 and ask for your help by wearing a mask or limiting your contact with others, rather than immediately questioning and criticizing, consider offering gratitude and respect to the men and women keeping our healthcare facilities operating. From the nurse who takes your temperature to the pharmacist who provides medication to the custodian who cleans the bathrooms, each person serves an important role. Many of them will be working over the holidays and exposing themselves to a disease that is at worst deadly and at best unpleasant — because that’s what the job demands.
As a community, we depend on medical providers to be there. Whether you have a fever that spikes on Christmas Eve or you slide off the road in the snow, it’s reassuring to know that EMTs, physicians and other personnel are standing by.
That was true when the pandemic started, and it’ll remain true when it ends. In a COVID-weary world, it’s important to stay engaged and vigilant, but also, keep cheering on our healthcare workers. They’re on your side.