Letter, Aug. 6
Britt is a superspreader
Yesterday’s paper included two articles that, read together, are alarming. One celebrated the return of the Britt Festival. The other detailed the inability of local hospitals to keep pace with the explosion of new COVID-19 cases.
I was at the Britt concert featuring Gladys Knight, and while I loved the music I was alarmed at the near-total absence of masks being worn. If the concert-goers are representative of the valley as a whole, over half of the attendees were unvaccinated.
With the new delta variant twice as contagious as the original virus, and the number of new cases the day of the concert reaching an all-time high for our county, the resulting infection rate exceeds what a concert last year would have produced at the height of the pandemic, before the vaccine was available.
With no mask policy or vaccination requirements, an explosion of new cases, and a vastly more infectious variant driving this, Britt is effectively a super-spreader venue.
I know we are all tired of wearing masks, but to throw caution to the wind is to invite tragedy. Unfortunately, that’s what Britt — and all the attendees shunning masks and vaccines — are choosing to do.
Oregonians have spoken: Access to health care is a right, and we will accept nothing less. Our state expanded Medicaid to ensure that people with low incomes are no longer excluded from the care they are entitled to. It was the right thing to do, which is why it’s so shocking that politicians in 12 states are refusing to do the same.
Across the country, nearly 25 million adult women receive care through Medicaid. The program helps these people access essential preventive and primary reproductive health care — including birth control, STI testing and treatment, abortion services, and pre- and post-natal care. And yet more than 800,000 women of reproductive age are being denied this lifeline because their states refuse to expand Medicaid.
This may sound like someone else’s problem, but Oregonians can take action to get these people access to the care they need. We must call Congressman Cliff Bentz and demand that Congress step in and finish expanding Medicaid. During these unprecedented times, access to health care coverage is essential for our survival. Expanding Medicaid to families who need it and closing the coverage gap is essential to building back a better, stronger country and public health system.