It has been over a year since we learned that the coronavirus was heading in this direction. It spread around the world and came to the United States with a vengeance, killing some 525,000 people, mostly people of color, the poor, and people with health problems or disparities.
Although there is still no known cure, we have three medically approved vaccines for emergency use and the majority of the elderly and special care facilities have received at least one vaccine, so the number hospitalizations and dying are on the decline. We appreciate those who developed the vaccines and now we need to get vaccinated against the guns.
Unfortunately, when some businesses closed their doors completely, churches closed and others limited their services, many of those who did not trust medical providers were in danger. We were all urged to wash our hands thoroughly with soap and water, stay 6-8 feet from others, stay home, and wear a mask. Those most affected had to keep going out and working, had no room for isolation, and many ended up in hospital.
At the same time, many of those who knew science was fairer than politics took unnecessary risks and failed to follow protocols. They kept going in and out, gathering in large groups and not wearing any masks. As a result, many jobs are lost, healthcare is limited and homelessness is spreading.
My older sister was among those who died alone. She had checked in at the facility for memory treatment. After about a year and a half, the facility locked the doors and restricted visits so that my brother and I who visited daily could only see her by appointment, then out the window and on the phone. She tested positive for COVID-19 on the third Monday in July. Eight days later, she ate breakfast alone, ate lunch alone, and was found dead alone by mid-afternoon by staff. She died alone.
Just when my wife and I thought COVID-19 was under control, we embraced it. She was hospitalized for treatment and sent home. I was hospitalized for three days and isolated for another two weeks. As we are older, we continue to cough and have breathing problems.
It is time for health care to be accessible to everyone, regardless of skin color or economic situation. Long-standing disparities must end. Older people need help locating, planning and negotiating vaccination sites. The poor need a location in their own neighborhood. Those who face disparities need more attention. These frustrated and scared people need encouragement.
Here is my recommendation as we begin to roll back the restrictions: continue to wear your mask, wash your hands, avoid the crowds, let the family hug and visit each other, and help the poor as well as the people. colored.
The Rev. France A. Davis served for 45 years as the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Salt Lake City, retiring at the end of 2019.