End Double Standard Applied To Homeless Vagrants/Transients Who Refuse COVID Vax
|(Aug. 1, 2021, 10:45 p.m.) -- On July 29, L.A. County's Dept. of Public Health released data indicating that in a recent week, COVID-19 cases among L.A County's homeless increased by 21% (July 19-26). We dolubt most of these trasients/vagrants routinely wear face masks or practice "social distancing."
The County acknowledges that while 1,066 providers are vaccinating homeless persons, of 45,950 doses administered to date fewer than half -- 20,188 -- are fully vaccinated. That's a de facto refusal rate -- among homeless persons taxpayers are spending large sums to try to help -- considerably higher than in the general population. Statewide over 60% of Californians are fully vaccinated. The City of Long Beach says over 70% of its adult population are vaccinated. The LA County data indicates roughly 44% of LA County homeless are vaccinated. That means an LA County homeless refusal rate of nearly 56%.
It's politically incorrect but necessary to say that unvaccinated homeless persons have become a COVID-19 risk to themselves (with impacts on the health care system) and a spreader to others, both in their encampments and to those beyond. In our opinion, it's no longer acceptable to make excuses for homeless encampments that have always been a public nuisance but are now a pandemic public health incubator.
And while Mayor Garcia Tweets insipidities, the fact is that salient COVID-19 conditions are worse in Long Beach than in L.A Couanty overall. See LBREPORT.com's front page COVID-19 dashboard. It shows that as of Aug. 1, the City of LB reported a seven day case rate and positivity test rate higher than L.A. County. What is the response of the City of Long Beach -- which has its own Health Dept. independent of LA County -- to the homeless aspect of this public health issue?
On July 21, 2021 LB Health Human Services Director Kelly Colopy sent memo to City Manager Tom Modica for the Mayor and Councilmembers on transfering the Homeless Education and Response Team (HEART) from LBFD to her Health and Human Services Dept. Her memo doesn't even mention the words "vaccines" or "vaccinations."
Instead Ms. Colopy says that beginning Aug. 2, her department will be prepared to "provide field-based outreach and engagement services and intensive case management functions within the City to people experiencing homelessness" with two full time equivalent Public Health Nurses." Consider the cliches offered in her memo as bullet points (listed verbatim below):
So exactly what will these taxpayer paid employees say and do if the transients/vagrants they encounter refuse the offered vaccine? Zzzzzz. Have LB's policy-setting Councilmembers seriosly dealt with this issue? Zzzzzz.
It's easy for politicians to blame selfish affluent individuals who bloviate about their choice to refuse the vaccine even if it prolongs the pandemic for others. But what happens when the person refusing is "experiencing homelessness," a government euphemism for persons too often a drug/substance abuser or mentally ill and needing help? When they refuse vaccination it can have similar public health consequences. Politicians can't bring themselves to say a double standard on this public health matter is no longer acceptable.
Yes, we now know some of those fully vaccinated can still become COVID-infected and spread the more contagious and aggressive delta variant to others. But that doesn't make a double standard between affluent refusers and homeless refusers more acceptable.
L.A. County's Public Health Dept. states in its July 29 release:
In parallel with the overall [increased] trend in L.A. County, the number of COVID-19 cases among people experiencing homelessness has increased significantly over the past few weeks...
The private sector is wisely dealing with vaccine refusers by refusing them access to their services. But the notion that homeless transients/vagrants who refuse vaccinations remain entitled to taxpayer services is intolerable.
Vaccination against smallpox, polio and diphtheria are already mandatory. They ended those contagions. We do not support covering up adverse reactions or other mattes te public has a right to know.
But it is fact, not opinion, that Long Beach's Health Dept. is legally independent of L.A. County's Health Dept. It is our opinon that LB's Dept. of Health and Human Sservices should end stop dispensing cliches and its Health Dept. should apply stronger measures than L.A. County against both homeless and affluent individuals who consider themselves free to prolong the pandemic for the rest of us.
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