Recently, I saw a petition that advocated for the delay of in-person HSU classes by two to three weeks. Is this too much to ask? Logically, I think that what these advocates stand for deserves careful consideration. Humboldt county’s rates of coronavirus cases are the highest that they have been since the beginning of the pandemic. As of January, the county has averaged 213.9 cases on a weekly basis. Throughout the CSU and UC systems, an abundance of schools have decided to do remote learning for the first month. Why should Humboldt State be an exception to this? This reminds me of any disaster movie ever made. The last group people want to listen to is the scientists. We’re in the middle of a global crisis, yet people and our own institutions want to deny it. It almost feels like the world is on fire, however, I’m one of the few that sees the fire and acknowledges it as an inherent problem with our society. We cannot have another surge! Our local facilities don’t have the capacity to house any more COVID-19 patients. A couple of months ago I was trying to find an appointment for gallbladder surgery. Usually, medical emergencies would have been taken care of at Saint Joseph Hospital in Eureka. Instead, I was scheduled for surgery at Mad River Hospital in Arcata, supposedly because all of the hospital rooms at Saint Joseph Hospital were at full capacity. With rising numbers, I can only imagine how hard it would be to find an appointment for gallbladder surgery now as compared to then.
The coronavirus has also disproportionately affected Indigenous communities in the inland area. As of January 13, 2022, Public Health Officer Eva Marie Smith has detected an Omicron case in the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation. With a total of 109 active cases, Smith believes that the tribe is likely experiencing a mix of Delta and Omicron with a predominance of Omicron within the next few weeks. Due to the latest Covid surge, Hoopa Tribal Chairman Joe Davis has authorized a level 4 shutdown of all non-essential operations for at least two weeks. The Omicron surge has also recently caused staff shortages at Saint Joseph Hospital.
Early studies suggested that the Omicron variant can just as easily infect vaccinated people as it can the unvaccinated population. It can be said with confidence that anyone can be infected by the widespread virus. In addition, it would be wise for Humboldt State to require all students to be tested weekly regardless of their vaccination status. Vaccinated people are just as likely to transmit the Omicron variant as someone who is unvaccinated. If that isn’t enough, it can also reinfect. It seems no matter how much you tell someone to not touch the stove, they have to touch it for themselves in order to figure out what the consequences are. By signing the petition, we can mitigate such catastrophic events from further happening.