By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Buckle up
Wear a seat belt, and get vaccinated

At the end of February 2020, the U.S. was preparing for the arrival of a new virus, SARS-CoV-2, and the disease it causes, which was named “coronavirus disease 2019” (COVID-19). There were no known cases in Kansas, but local responders held a meeting to prepare for the inevitable.

It was reported at that time, “a vaccine won’t be available before 2022.”

We’re thankful that the vaccine became available well ahead of that prediction. The first doses in Kansas were administered in December of 2020.

This year, a new study by the World Health Organization estimated that 470,000 lives have been saved among Europeans aged 60 years and over since the start of the COVID-19 vaccination. In the United States, the National Institutes of Health reported that COVID-19 vaccines had reduced the number of fatalities that would have occurred due to the disease by more than 139,000 during the first five months the vaccines were available.

Barton County had reported 104 active COVID-19 cases by the end of July 2020 and on November 25, 2020, there were 314 active cases – and the total number of positive cases for the county had reached 1,560. This brings us to today. As of 9 a.m. Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, there have been 500,448 COVID-19 cases in Kansas and 6,916 statewide deaths attributed to COVID-19. Barton County has had 4,614 cases and 71 deaths.

The world has learned a lot about SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, and that information is readily available. A lot of wild conjectures and scam news stories are also out. Even when these are debunked, there are people who choose to cite them and prefer them to the unpleasant truth. If you don’t trust the “mainstream media,” why not ask your health-care provider or pharmacist if it’s a good idea to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Sadly, half of the Barton County residents who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines are still unvaccinated. We hear people complain, “You can still get COVID if you’re vaccinated.” That’s a lot like saying, “You can still die in a car wreck if you wear your seat belt. And after all, most of the people who drive don’t even get into a car wreck.”

Hospitals are filling up – again. In the Kansas City Metro area, the University of Kansas Health System reports the number of patients “continues to be ominous.” Of 45 patients with the active virus who were being treated last Friday, only seven were fully vaccinated. Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer of UKHS, and 10 other area chief medical officers, unanimously identified unvaccinated patients as the clear majority of COVID patients that are causing challenges. UKHS adds, “many hospitals are also preparing to cancel surgeries – or are already canceling surgeries – due to the volume of unvaccinated COVID patients.”

The facts are in. I’ve you’re getting into a vehicle, buckle up. If you’re unvaccinated, get vaccinated.