Tag Archives: delta variant

Vaccines work … dammit!

Take a good look at this graph. It comes from Amarillo, Texas’s public health department.

I realize Amarillo is just one mid-sized American city, but these figures clearly mirror a national trend. It shows that the overwhelming majority of us who are being stricken, sickened and put in peril by the COVID-19 virus haven’t received any vaccination.

The yellow images tell me all I need to know. If you are refusing to receive the vaccine that protects you against the pandemic, you are putting yourself at extreme peril. Worse than that, you also are endangering those who are closest to you.

President Biden has told us repeatedly that the current spike in COVID infections — caused by the Delta variant — is a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

Hmm. What’s the message?

You need to get vaccinated. Today!


Pols vs. docs: Who do we believe?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

There once was a time not too long ago when we thought we had made the turn down the stretch in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Then came the variant called Delta. It’s changed. So now we’re being treated to a war of words between elected politicians and medical experts.

Who do you believe? The pols — some of whom want to run for president in 2024 or the physicians/scientists/researchers who have no obvious political ambition?

Hmm. I am going to stick with the docs. I will ignore the politicians.

We have clowns such as Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida making an utter a** of himself by threatening to withhold salaries of school officials who order students and teachers to wear masks to fight the COVID pandemic.

Here in Texas, we have another GOP governor, Greg Abbott, who issued an order that bans schools, counties and cities from taking measures that go beyond what the governor has decreed. School officials in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and Austin have defied the governor’s order. Why did they do that? Because the medical experts in their respective communities have told them that requiring masks will help stem the infection rates cause by that Delta variant.

Congress is sprinkled with fruitcakes and assorted nut jobs who keep suggesting that mask-wearing mandates deprive us of our “freedom” to live like Americans. Hey, listen up goofballs: I prefer to live, period. The alternative — illness and possible death — would rob me of much more “freedom” than any order that comes from the county courthouse, city hall or the school district administration.

The doctors have the knowledge, the information, the credentials and the credibility to withstand the criticism being leveled at them by political hacks.

I intend to stand with the medical experts.

They are the men and women with the skill and the knowledge to put the COVID-19 scourge down for the count.

COVID verbal battle heats up

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden is getting into a nasty spat with a fellow who likely will seek to run for the office Biden occupies in 2024.

The president said this over the weekend about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis: “The escalation of cases is particularly concentrated in states with low vaccination rates. Just two states, Florida and Texas, account for one-third of all new COVID-19 cases in the entire country. … Look, we need leadership from everyone. And if some governors aren’t willing to do the right thing to beat this pandemic, then they should allow businesses and universities who want to do the right thing to be able to do it.”

DeSantis fired back, suggesting — without evidence — that the COVID virus spike is caused by the president’s “open-border policy” and that refugees are bringing with them as they stream into the country illegally.

PolitiFact | Ron DeSantis’ effort to blame COVID-19 spread on migrants is short on evidence

Ah, yes. Politics arguably is the most infectious element in this discussion.

DeSantis said he doesn’t want to “hear a blip” from Biden about COVID until he controls the border.

Except for this little item: President Biden is correct to single out Texas and Florida as the two states producing the most COVID outbreaks since the arrival of the Delta variant … which came from India, which is nowhere close to Latin America.

Can’t we start pulling together for a change on fighting this virus? How about it?

Officials defy Abbott exec order? Yes!

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is the latest Texas public official to take matters into his own hands regarding how his city should deal with the COVID-19 outbreak stemming from the Delta variant.

He says the city’s 22,000 employees must wear masks while on the job in public buildings and where social distancing is not possible. As the Texas Tribune reported: “The mayor has a right and responsibility to ask city employees to wear face coverings indoors to help stop the virus from spreading,” Mary Benton, a Turner spokesperson, said to the Houston Chronicle. “With the rise in the delta variant cases and high numbers of unvaccinated individuals, Mayor Turner is doing what is necessary to keep [city] employees healthy.”

Local mask mandates pop up in Texas despite Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban | The Texas Tribune

This mayoral mandate comes in defiance of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order that prohibits local officials — such as Turner — from issuing mandates that go beyond the state’s non-action.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins this week removed County Commissioner J.J. Koch because Koch refused to wear a mask during a Commissioners Court meeting. Koch responded by threatening to sue Jenkins for issuing the mask order. OK, I shall mention that Jenkins is a Democrat and Koch is a Republican and their differing points of view on mask wearing falls right in line with the national partisan divide over how to deal with the COVID pandemic.

Partisan petulance is alive in Dallas County | High Plains Blogger

What will the local officials in our part of the state — in Collin County and neighboring counties — do in response to what I believe is Abbott’s heavy-handed response? Probably not much at all. I do not see much political courage in city halls and at the Collin County Courthouse on this matter.

Mayors, county judges, school board trustees and superintendents all know their communities. They all listen — or they should listen — to what their constituents are telling them. Mayor Turner took his community’s pulse and decided that he had the authority to act as the city’s chief executive, regardless of some dictatorial prohibition handed down from Austin by the governor.

I will stand with Mayor Turner. I also would stand with any public official who seeks to invoke their own health protection rules as well. I don’t want them necessarily to do any of this to spite the governor. I remain deeply concerned about the spread of this variant and the undeniable evidence that it is putting a terrible strain — yet again — on our stressed-out health care system.

For the governor to issue a no-new-mandate order even as the killer virus regains its dangerous strength is insulting on its face. Stay the course, Mayor Turner.

Partisan petulance is alive in Dallas County

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

If you want a crystal-clear example of just how petulant partisan politicians can get, you need look no further than than the Dallas County Courthouse.

That was where County Judge Clay Jenkins ordered a fellow county commissioner on Tuesday to leave a meeting because the commissioner wouldn’t follow the rules laid down by the county board’s presiding officer. That would be Jenkins.

The county judge, who happens to be a Democrat (that’s important in this context; I’ll explain in a second) said all persons attending the commissioners court meeting needed to wear a mask to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, which is spiking in Dallas County. Commissioner J.J. Koch — a Republican — refused to wear a mask. He said Jenkins doesn’t have the authority to overrule a mandate by Gov. Greg Abbott (another Republican), who says local jurisdictions cannot enforce mandates that are not spelled out by the state.

Koch resisted requests from Jenkins repeatedly. Jenkins finally had Koch removed from the meeting under escort by a sheriff’s deputy. Koch, meanwhile, says he is going to sue Jenkins.

Good grief! I cannot believe this is happening!

The courthouse snit illustrates quite clearly the partisan divide that is driving this discussion. Republicans by and large are refusing to heed government orders to take care against the virus; Democrats are heeding those orders. Thus, the divide widens.

The county judge is seeking to protect his fellow public officials, not to mention the public, from getting infected by a virus that is still making people sick. I just have to wonder whether Koch is resisting the order because it is coming from a colleague who happens to be a member of the opposing political party.

Koch is picking a fight he need not pick, for God’s sake!

From my vantage point in the next county over from Dallas County, J.J. Koch is making an unnecessary spectacle of himself and highlighting — or lowlighting, if you prefer — the partisan divide that has infected (no pun intended) a matter involving public well-being.

Too much to expect victory?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It likely was too much to expect a new president, operating with a new medical team would be able to declare victory against the COVID-19 pandemic virus.

President Biden took a lot of credit — perhaps a tad too much of it — for the distribution of vaccines developed by Big Pharma companies. He made bold promises, such as vaccinating 70 % of Americans by the Fourth of July.

It didn’t happen. Then came the emergence of the Delta pandemic variant. More Americans have been getting sick. More of them are dying from the variant.

However, I cannot yet expect a return to the dark days of a year ago. We have come too far from the abyss that opened up when Biden’s predecessor gave short shrift to the consequences of the virus. He said it would vanish magically. It was all “under control,” he said even as thousands of Americans were being stricken daily.

That president lost his re-election bid in 2020. The new guy promised a new day, a new approach, a greater effort to fight the pandemic and rid the nation of its scourge.

We made progress. Then … boom! The Delta variant arrived. Now we’re being advised to mask up again; to maintain “social distancing”; we’re also being advised in the strongest terms possible to get vaccinated.

As disappointing as this setback appears I am not going to despair. I am not going to consign myself and my family to another round of anxiety or misery.

I’ll just have to remind myself that we cannot spike any proverbial footballs until we get eradicate the virus — and all the variants it produces. I remain cautiously optimistic that we’ll get to that finish line … eventually.

What’s more, I will take some measure of comfort knowing that we are being led by a government chief executive who will tell us the truth as we continue this fight.

Hypocrisy? Anyone?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Democratic politicians have made quite a bit of hay about their Republican colleagues’ effort to lie about the efficacy of various COVID 19 vaccines and have blasted them to smithereens for refusing to wear masks in group settings.

As the saying goes … oops!

At least six Democratic politicians — all Texas pols holed up in Washington over a dispute involving voter suppression efforts in Austin — have tested positive for the coronavirus. They haven’t worn masks in their own group settings. Are they going to get sick and possibly die? Probably not. All of ’em have been vaccinated, but they reportedly have come down with the delta variant that now accounts for the vast majority of new infections being reported.

I mention this only to call attention to the harsh rhetoric that flies back and forth across partisan lines.

The Democrats who have tested positive are members of the Texas Legislature. They left Austin to stop a voter overhaul effort launched by Texas Republican lawmakers. Clearly they should have known better than to expose themselves to the variant that is creating considerable havoc across the nation, accounting for the increases in infection, hospitalization and death.

They no doubt will get a snootful from their Republican colleagues.

Sadly, they have it coming.

Ignore the know-nothings

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

While visiting with a family member this afternoon, chatting about this and that, I made a command decision about how I will treat the yammering that comes from the anti-vaxxers out there who say we should ignore pleas to inoculate ourselves against the COVID-19 pandemic.

I will ignore them.

When Fox News blowhard Tucker Carlson says we should forgo the vaccine, I will ignore him. When such nonsense spills from the pie holes of politicians wedded to the nonsense spouted by POTUS 45, I will ignore them, too.

FYI, my family member happens to be on my side in this argument.

Now, that said … if a learned physician with the skill and knowledge credentials of, say, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says we should refuse the vaccine, I’ll give it all due consideration. Then I’ll disregard what he or she says, too.

The blowhards are know-nothing gasbags. They make handsome livings by being able to articulate half-baked opinions in a witty, reasonably articulate manner. They have their followers. I am not one of them. Thus, I do not take their blathering seriously; hell, I usually choose to avoid listening to it in the first place.

I established long ago my own bias. We all have it. You do, too. I am going to accept the opinions of those I trust. Dr. Fauci — the nation’s premier infectious disease expert — says the vaccines are safe and effective. That, dear friends, is good enough for me.

As for those who refuse to get vaccinated, or refuse to inoculate their children against the killer virus and its variant(s), they are putting themselves in dire peril. Worse, they are endangering their children.

All of them — every single one of them — should be ashamed.