Comorbidities

To add to the joke that the Massachusetts vaccination rollout has been, I have to laugh at one of the things that they list as a “comorbidity”, meaning, if you do this (not if you have it, because it’s not something you have, it’s something you choose to do), you are eligible to get vaccinated over others right now. That “comorbidity” is smoking.

Yes, in Massachusetts they consider smoking a medical condition. Smoking is not a medical condition. It is something people choose to do. It will cause medical conditions. It will make your current medical conditions worse. And it could kill you. But smoking itself is not a medical condition and it should not be considered a “comorbidity”. By definition a “comorbidity” is a disease or medical condition that is simultaneously present with another or others in a patient.

The biggest joke is how Type 2 Diabetes is on the list (which I can fully agree with, being a Type 2 diabetic myself), but not Type 1 Diabetes. Yet smoking is. I also find it ridiculous that it lists one of the comorbidities as “immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant.” Um, don’t they know you can have a weakened immune system from something other than an organ transplant? Like Multiple Sclerosis. Which is what my husband has. It doesn’t even list HIV or AIDS. But if you’re an overweight smoker, even if you have nothing else wrong with you, you’re all set. Because being obese is one of the comorbidities also. Also, if you’re 101 and may not even be around for your second shot, which is what happened to my friend’s grandmother, it’s okay. At least she was able to get her first shot.

But, you know, priorities….

Too Much Too Soon?

Two months into the COVID-19 vaccinations and suddenly for some, it’s time to party. At least it seems that way in Massachusetts.

For a state who can’t figure out which way is up when it comes to getting its population appointments for vaccinations, a state who thinks students should be back fully in school by April, even without teachers being vaccinated, a state whose metrics on deaths, hospitalizations and active cases have declined but new cases have not, they have decided that it’s time to let loose on the TD Garden, Fenway and Gillette play to a live audience. Because priorities.

Considering that Fenway and Gillette are two of the mass vaccination sites, how do they intend on doing vaccinations and play baseball and football games? Don’t tell me Massachusetts thinks all the people who want/need to be vaccinated will be vaccinated by Opening Day. Or even Patriots pre-season. Because they won’t. I hope they’re not thinking the state won’t need those mass vaccination sites by that time. At the rate we’re going, we’ll be lucky anyone who wants a vaccination in Massachusetts will have gotten it by Christmas.

And don’t get me started on restaurants. Because those places are the last places I want to be. COVID doesn’t disappear just because your table is six feet away from the party next to you. It doesn’t disappear when you take your mask off to eat. Even if you wore it coming in and when you leave.

I can understand how everyone is feeling. We’re all sick of COVID. So many literally. But such a small fraction of people in the state, many of who won’t even go to a restaurant or a baseball, basketball or football game, have received both of their vaccinations. In fact, as of right now there are more people who HAVE NOT received their vaccination than those who HAVE. There are many who WILL NEVER get a vaccination. Because they don’t want to. So is it really the right time to let our guard down, throw caution to the wind and go to a ball game? Even with adherence policies in place?

I guess the only way to find out is to do it.

And hope for the best. Because if the best doesn’t happen, lack of vaccination appointments will become the least of Massachusetts’ problems.

Whose Debt Is It Anyway?

Yes, paying off $50,000 in student debt loans is a nice dream to have.

But do they realize just HOW MANY student debt loans this would mean?

Do they realize just HOW MANY colleges and universities this would cause financial damage to?

And what about the students attending college for the first time THIS year? And NEXT year? And THE YEAR AFTER THAT? Will their student debt be paid off too?

Yes, it’s a nice dream. But let’s be realistic.

Because what is good for one group of students should be good for ALL groups of students.

Give the Teachers a Shot

I can understand why Massachusetts has gotten an “F” rating on their vaccine rollout.

Between the lack of vaccination sites, the inability to be able to find an appointment, confusion, lack of computer-friendly sites and easier ways for the elderly to book an appointment, the rating is what the state deserves. We can also add the fact that the phases are fucked up.

Yes, I agree that healthcare workers, first responders, etc. should’ve been in the first phase. From what I understand, some in this phase are still in the process of getting their vaccinations. What I don’t agree with is putting the 75+ crowd ahead of teachers. For one thing, there are more of the 75+ crowd than there are teachers. In fact, they are part of the largest population. So it’s going to take a while to vaccinate them all. The 75+ crowd, although vulnerable, are not as vulnerable as teachers who place themselves in schools every day with students and other staff.

I can’t speak for the 75+ crowd, but considering the handful of people in this age span that I do know, they don’t go anywhere. Unlike teachers who, for schools that are teaching in-person in some fashion, physically go to school every day. And are in contact with many people every day. That’s why we keep having so many COVID-19 cases every week. At least in my school district.

Wouldn’t it have made sense to get the teachers vaccinated first, before the 75+ crowd?

The Money Has To Come From Somewhere

The big talk today, as it has been for years, is how many want the federal minimum wage raised from $7.25 to $15.00 an hour.

Yes, a raise in the federal minimum wage is long past due. It’s been over a decade. And many are struggling. But if the minimum wage jumps from $7.25 to $15.00, the money has to come from somewhere. And changes will happen.

As I’ve seen in my own state of Massachusetts, where the minimum wage has gradually increased and will eventually reach $15.00 in 2023, we have seen increases in restaurant food prices, as well as decreases in working hours every year since the gradual increase began. Which was quite obviously going to happen. And we haven’t even reached $15.00 yet. But because every year the minimum wage is going to increase, so is everything else. It’s a cycle.

I use the experience of an acquaintance of mine who works for a supermarket as an example. She told me with the increase, all employees at the store saw a decrease in their hours, which nobody is happy about. Yes, they may be making $13.50 an hour now but for many, like the woman who works there and normally gets 20 hours a week, she is now only working 16 hours and has lost her health insurance because of it.

So yes, on one hand $15.00 an hour would be great. But how many would actually be getting ahead?