Local Editorials

Our View: Hospitals are overflowing because of selfishness

Those not vaccinated make up the majority of those with COVID-19 who are hospitalized. Vaccinations can help address this growing problem.

FILE -  A vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is seen during a vaccination clinic at the Norristown Public Health Center in Norristown, Pa., Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021. Moderna said Monday, Dec. 20, 2021 that a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine should offer protection against the rapidly spreading omicron variant.

We are two years into this pandemic and the reason we are heading into a third year with COVID-19 cases still at record levels is because a contingent of our citizens just won’t listen to simple logic.

While those who are fully vaccinated and boosted, can still get COVID-19, they are at a more manageable level of risk. If they do get sick, their illness, for the most part, is much less severe and the patient can, more often than not, convalesce at home in their own bed.

Those who aren’t vaccinated and get COVID-19, often are hospitalized, are more likely to end up on a ventilator and are the ones who, despite two years into the pandemic and when we have a proven vaccination, are more likely to die from the virus.

The pandemic is not ending anytime soon, and now we are into another, more contagious, variant, omicron.

Let’s be blunt: the selfishness of the unvaccinated is impacting us all because these are the people who are spreading the virus and filling our hospitals. This situation is dangerous, and there is no reason for this self-centered ignorance. “It’s like the flu,” some say. Well, not if you are in a susceptible demographic or have the wrong mix of risk factors, which can turn into a death sentence. Some 30,566 Illinois families already have learned that.

Others might say, “the vaccine isn’t tested.” Besides that being blatantly untrue, having gone through large-scale trials and now having been rolled out to hundreds of millions here and abroad, it is certainly more tested than some of the treatments like ivermectin that some are clingy to as alternatives.

In the meantime, our hospitals are overflowing with COVID-19 patients.

On Wednesday, Morris Hospital had 76 total hospitalized patients, 40 of them with COVID-19. Of those 40 COVID-19 patients, 35 were not vaccinated.

OSF HealthCare, one of the leading healthcare organizations in Illinois, announced on Twitter: “Across our Ministry, cases of COVID-19 in our hospitals continue to be mostly among those who have not gotten vaccinated or are overdue for a booster shot.”

Advocate Health Care had “505 COVID-19 inpatients across our Illinois hospitals, more than twice as many as one month ago,” spokeswoman Lauren Rohr told The Daily Herald on Tuesday. “This situation is growing more challenging by the day – beds are tight, wait times are long and our team members are strained.”

As of Thursday, Illinois had 4,271 COVID-19 patients in the hospital, the most since Dec. 28, 2020. Of those, 867 were in intensive care units, the most since Dec. 29, 2020, and 485 were on ventilators, the most since Dec. 30. Of the 2,979 staffed ICU beds, 867 were occupied by COVID-19 patients.

Yes, the majority of these patients have not been vaccinated.

As of this week, 7,646,900 Illinois residents have been fully vaccinated, or 60%. That’s too low.

State data shows 2,887,662 booster doses have been administered, an increase of 332,575 doses week-over-week. Illinois’ total population now is 23% boosted. Again, that’s too low.

As a society, we must rely on each other. It’s not everyone for themselves. In a pandemic, we can’t afford to be selfish. We all have family, friends and others who are susceptible to the travails of COVID-19 and rely on us to stay healthy.

Consider if you are the one having a heart attack or your loved one is in an ambulance on the way to the emergency room after a violent car crash, you want the hospital to have an intensive care bed available. The unvaccinated can help make sure that ICU bed is waiting for those who need it most.

Get vaccinated for the greater good of your fellow citizens, and your own health and safety.

Help us help others, and stop being selfish.