The other night my husband shared a story. About the patients he met during his clinic day. Many of them were black and brown folks like him that day. All with something to say. Like how they refused to get vaccinated. Even today, many black and brown people still refuse to get vaccinated. It’s all works of life too. He asked a gentleman why wasn’t he vaccinated. He said he did not trust a vaccine made in six months. My husband mentioned but it was made by a black man and a black woman like us? Don’t you trust them? It didn’t sway the patient. The same conversations were held with another patient and another. Nothing seemed to change their mind. By the time my husband came home that day, he was drained. We are still failing our own, he said. We are still failing black and brown lives.
Most of the patients at their intensive care unit now are black and brown folks lives. Many did not get vaccinated for one reason or the other. I was stumped. Most of the dead are black and brown lives. Most died in the early days due to failures within the system that never prioritized black and brown lives. Why are we still not doing enough? Why are we not helping people understand that we are still in a pandemic? And public health folks, our experts and all, why are we not in the trenches saving black and brown lives?
It’s for this reason, I wonder what it will take to put the public back into public health. Why are our words not resonating? Why are our actions too not saving lives? Why are we not in the business of the public for public health and by the public? I am stumped because this can all be avoided. We can and should continue to wear mask? There is still a pandemic and if you have not gotten your vaccines yet, get them. You just may save your life. The actions you take are not just for you. This isn’t individual health. It’s the public’s health we are after and if you vaccinate, you save lives, your own, the people you love, those you see in your community, shoot the whole humanity. Your one singular action saves lives.
I see places are eager to open up. I am too. I want my kids to have some sort of return back to normalcy. We all want to travel. I miss my days of traveling from one country to another for work. I miss seeing new faces, old faces. I miss our pre-pandemic lives. But we are still in a pandemic. We are still in the middle of it and it’s surging here in Missouri where we live.
My kids woke up this morning. Coughing and all, with some fever. We went swimming yesterday. I wondered if I am returning back to normalcy a little too fast. Out of an abundance of caution, we tested them for COVID19. It is spreading fast among children and the last thing I want is to think my quest to return them back to normalcy may have endangered their lives. Everything else is canceled for now. We are still in a pandemic. We are back to our lockdown mode. Back to wearing masks consistently. Back to protecting ourselves as we love ourselves. Twenty minutes later, their results were negative. We intend to stay this way. There is still a pandemic.