Opinion | Unvaccinated, and Hospitalized With Covid

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To the Editor:

Re “I’m an E.R. Doctor in Michigan, Where Unvaccinated People Are Filling Hospital Beds” (Opinion guest essay, nytimes.com, Dec. 8):

Dr. Rob Davidson’s experiences at a small Michigan hospital mirror my own working as a staff pharmacist at a small regional medical center in Minnesota.

Vaccination rates in our county are barely 40 percent. For more than a month we have seen our patient census at two to three times normal, with anywhere from a third to two-thirds of patients ill with Covid-19. The vast majority of them are unvaccinated.

Our emergency room is constantly full with all manner of patients, though those with Covid-19 or suspected Covid-19 make up the majority. The sickest become boarders in our E.R., too ill to go home but with no beds in our medical center or anywhere else in the state to send them to. Wait times in our E.R. have mushroomed from minutes to many hours.

Staff in every department (doctors, nurses, housekeeping, pharmacy, lab …) is under tremendous strain. Determination to give quality care coexists with fear of missing something important while caring for so many patients. The stress has become more evident daily in fatigue, momentary flares of temper and tears. We are drowning in patients.

Ken Vaselaar
Cambridge, Minn.

To the Editor:

Dr. Rob Davidson writes: “With every shift, I see the strain people sick with Covid-19 put on my hospital. Their choice to not get vaccinated is not personal. It forces patients with ruptured appendixes and broken bones to wait for hours in my emergency department; it postpones surgeries for countless other people and burns out doctors and nurses.”

Hospitals need to establish triage guidelines that place higher priority on patients who are vaccinated and require treatment above Covid patients who come to the hospital and are unvaccinated. It is absolutely unacceptable that the irresponsible actions of unvaccinated people should harm the health of others. There must be consequences for their carelessness and disregard for others.

Rob Fenstermacher
White Plains, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Isn’t it ironic that the same anti-vaxxers who end up in hospitals willingly accept all of the medical interventions offered to them? They don’t want a vaccine to avoid getting sick but will accept intubation, drugs, oxygen and whatever else is offered to try to save their lives.

The excuses given for not taking the vaccine such as “it’s not a proven science” or “I don’t trust the drug companies” or “there isn’t enough evidence” sound hollow against the willingness to try novel approaches to saving their lives with new drugs and therapies.

Hold up a mirror to their hypocrisy.

Sally Baydala
Calgary, Alberta

How Build Back Better Falls Short on Climate Change

To the Editor:

Re “A Half-Trillion-Dollar Boost for the Fight to Save the World From Warming” (news article, Nov. 20):

When it comes to climate change mitigation, it’s not how much money we spend that counts, but how much emissions we reduce. Scientists warn us of the dire consequences of continuing to burn fossil fuels.

President Biden wisely set a goal of reducing emissions 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. In its current form, Build Back Better offers to spend $555 billion luring businesses and consumers to reduce emissions. It won’t be enough.

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