I am an 80 year old retired physician living on the Big Island of Hawaii. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic we have prided ourselves on our ability to self-discipline, follow masking guidelines and socially distance, which has been reflected in the lowest prevalence and mortality rates in the country. However, with the emergence of the Delta variant, we have seen rates skyrocket to the point that our epidemiologic curves are approximating those of Florida and other Southern red states. Our hospitals are full and there are essentially no ICU beds available on the island. The vaccination rate is stagnating at around 60% and 98% of the hospitalized Covid patients are unvaccinated.

Yesterday, my neighbor, a 75 year old retiree,  developed symptoms of renal stones and we took him to a local urologist. After evaluating him, the urologist determined that surgery would be necessary to remove the stone. However, we were informed that, due to the Covid situation, there is no oxygen available for non-emergent surgeries anywhere on the islands. Thus, as my neighbor’s condition is not life threatening, and even though he is in considerable pain, the surgery has been put off for 2 weeks until additional oxygen can be shipped in.

This is a reminder, that even in the bluest of blue states, the anti-vaxxers are continuing to create a health crisis for us all.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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