~ Submitted by Ann Kiessling, Ph.D.
[Kiessling holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry/Biophysics]
No deaths and no known COVID19 hospitalizations for at least seven months, plus vaccination of more than 71% of eligible Bedford residents mark the end of the pandemic in our community. As of October 28, the CDC reports COVID 19 deaths are 1.6% of positive tests nationwide, down from 2.7% on October 21, last year. It’s important to emphasize that these data reveal the death rate from COVID-19 has always been lower than initial estimates. Importantly, we now know that over 90% of us, nationwide, are not going to be affected by this virus, even if we become infected, vaccinated or not. Data being collected by the Bedford Health Department support this. Vaccination status is known for 91 of the 134 positive tests of Bedford residents 12 and over from August 2 through October 16. Of those, 78 (86%) were vaccinated. Therefore, somewhere between 58% and 86% of Bedford residents testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 since early August are vaccinated, and apparently not very sick. Therefore, the current Bedford mask mandate is masking vaccinated folks to protect other vaccinated folks from a virus that is most likely not going to make them sick.
Public Health messaging around COVID19 in the U.S. has been confusing, contradictory, and politicized. The CDC is the only public health agency in the world that recommends masking everyone over the age of two, and they provide no data to justify this. Their own data support the lack of serious COVID19 disease among children, listing only 424 deaths (0.0075%) of 5,800,000 infected kids aged 0 to 11. Given what we’ve learned about SARS-CoV-2, Bedford children should be allowed to sing holiday songs of their choice at the top of their lungs without masks, an extremely important mental health measure for everyone this holiday season.