Apocalyptic COVID stories feel like manipulative distractions from the real problem.

If the story Brian Amaral wanted to frame with his apocalyptic Boston Globe article about COVID in Kent Hospital in Warwick is that hospital employees are struggling because the state has mismanaged their industry and because it’s disappointing to watch unvaccinated patients die with COVID, he overshot by a long way.  The message from his piece is clearly that unvaccinated people are causing the system to collapse, and Rhode Island hospitals might not survive their reluctance to submit.

Whatever the wisdom of such folks’ decisions, the reality is that hospitals are desperate for masking and vaccination, because they need lighter-than-usual traffic to make things work.  Consider this sentence tucked into the article way down past talk of the apocalypse, comparison with refugee camps, warnings that young people are dying now, and a note that the morgue was full:

Even though COVID hospitalizations in Rhode Island are roughly half their peak from last year thanks to widely available vaccines, the hospitals are not able to handle what might have previously been just an ordinary pre-pandemic day of flus and ankle sprains.

According to state data, 171 people died while hospitalized and testing positive during the first 22 days of December 2020, with a daily average of 480 patients in the hospital.  This year, it was 70 cumulative deaths and 260 daily average hospitalization.

Whatever’s causing the hospital collapse, it’s not a lack of vaccination.  Maybe journalists should look into it.

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