‘We’re doing everything we can to survive.’ As US pushes to a pre-Covid reality, high-risk and disabled Americans feel forgotten


“My son looked up at me and knew what that meant, so I cried in his eyes. He said,” Mom, does that mean I can’t go to school anymore? “said. “He said,’Can’t you let the governor know about children like me? I want to go to school too.'”

4th grade Jack Cystic fibrosis, A progressive hereditary disorder that causes pulmonary infections that cause persistent damage and makes breathing difficult over time.Like other Americans with weakened immunity, disability, and chronic illness, Jack Take measures, Like masking, to fend off infections even before a pandemic. But that’s not that easy, as Covid-19 is still rampant.He VaccinationVirus is a serious cause, Potentially deadly, Risk to Jack.His 2-year-old brother Not yet covered Shots are another concern.

Nelson is returning his son home for that.

After 3 shots and 1 booster, this guy has little protection against Covid-19

“The whole pandemic, our culture, the media (and) the government has made it very clear to high-risk and disabled people that it is an acceptable loss for us,” Nelson said. “We are doing everything we can to survive this pandemic.”

Covid-19 cases and hospitalization Is declining nationwideHowever, infection rates (the amount of virus circulating in the community) remain high in over 90% of the United States. data From the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Still recommend everyone Mask indoors with areas of substantial or high transmittance.
But public health Experts are split About whether it is time to lift the mitigation measures. Some people say Removing protection when the number of Covid-19s is very high is not a public health move, but a political move.others Say a downward trend Justify and be careful of those moves Omicron is milder Than previous variants for most healthy people.
As a local and state leader Nationwide deletion Masks and vaccination rules, people at high risk of severe illness, abolishing protection, especially those and their families returning to direct work, school. And for some, the Covid-19 vaccine is not effective Stop violent seizures with the virus and get to the CDC 4th shot is recommended For people over 12 years of age with weakened immunity in October.
Approximately 7 million American adults are immune-vulnerable, CDC Estimate..Not all people have severe immunodeficiency and are vulnerable to severe Covid-19, but about 61 million adults (about 1 in 4 in the United States) have some disability. increaseaccording to agency. In 2019, more than 3 million children had disabilities. according to To the US Census Bureau.

“Everyone knows who has cancer, who has had a kidney transplant for some reason, who has Alzheimer’s disease, who has heart disease, or who was born with a rare immunodeficiency.” Said Sara Willett. She has been quarantined with her husband in Iowa since the state reported the first case of the virus about 700 days ago.

The CDC states that a fourth Covid-19 shot may be required if immune-protected.

“The more protection we remove, the harder it is for high-risk people to access other parts of the world,” Willett said.

Willett has been vaccinated three times and is preparing for a fourth vaccination, but catching the virus can be fatal.she has Common variable immunodeficiency disorders (CVID) means that her body does not produce protective antibodies to protect herself from pathogens such as bacteria and viruses.
The couple considered leaving Ames’s home and moving to Southern California. There, a stricter masking protocol may help protect her.But they ruled out that idea after the Governor of California Cancel the mission of the indoor mask Cited a reduction in infections for those vaccinated this month.
Iowa’s legislators are even more advanced- Invoice What is trying to effectively ban vaccine and mask obligations Go through Legislature. “We have to choose between staying alive and living a life,” Willett said.
High-risk people spoken by CNN said as a country I am enthusiastic about moving beyond the pandemic, They feel forgotten-and worse, they don’t seem to matter to other Americans. Some feel left to adapt to more dangerous realities, while others are now planning a permanently isolated lifestyle.

Family facing impossible choices

In Wilmington, Massachusetts, Karen Jurek’s family has a tight balance. Both Yulek and her husband are at high risk and are taking immunosuppressive drugs. She has rheumatoid arthritis and he has multiple sclerosis. Both receive 4 Covid-19 shots and work remotely.

Their family was almost completely isolated until last week when their 6-year-old son Billy returned to school. Billy has been vaccinated and Yulek and her husband felt he could be kept safe with the help of the universal masking requirements that had been in place.

Next, state officials Announced they are lifting Mission at the end of February.Ulek Written in The Wilmington School Commission urged them to require masks to “protect members of our community who no longer have” ordinary “luxury.”

The commission voted on Wednesday to lift the mask’s mission and raised a difficult dilemma for Yulek’s family: pulling their children out of direct class or risking serious illness.

“It’s really depressing,” Ulek said. “Everyone feels focused on returning to normal … they forget about all the people who are really at risk, and they forget about them. If not, they are just saying. “, You are yourself. ”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergic Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s John Berman Thursday that removing the school’s mask obligations given current levels of infection could lead to a recession in the case. rice field. “We’ve been to this show before,” he said. “When things go down, you pull back a little and it bounces off.”

Billy, son of Karen Jurek, is seen here on the first day of her return to face-to-face school. He was back and excited, Yurek said.
when Asked this month Regarding Americans with weakened immunity who feel left behind, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said the mask guidance “is relevant not only to the general public, but also to the general public with weakened immunity and disabilities.” He said he was working on an update, but did not provide details. ..
To keep more people safe, mask requirements need to depend on the amount of virus circulating in the community, and Mayo Clinic’s medical professor, Rochester’s Public Health, Infectious Diseases, Reimund Razonable, Vice-Chair of the Occupational Medicine Department, said, Minnesota. Viruses that strip off masks at once are still widespread and pose a threat to more variants. Omicron subvariant -The loom is a risk, Razonable told CNN.
All except one of the remaining states where mask obligations are still in place-Hawaii- Announced plan Delete them.
Increasing number of states and major cities lift Covid-19 restrictions
Other local leaders have also announced the end of vaccination measures. The national capital put an end to its indoor business vaccine requirements on Tuesday. The next day, Philadelphia and Boston also announced that they would abolish the vaccine requirement.In New York City, Mayor Eric Adams Said Employer to end Work-at-home policy“We need people to get back to work,” he said at a press conference.
“Unfortunately, in most cases, communities with weakened immunity and communities with disabilities are ignored,” said a public health expert. Autoimmunity Community Institute, A non-profit research and advocacy organization. “We hurt.”
42-year-old Kris Giere with type 1 diabetes and living in Indiana Finished the mask mission I repeated the same thing last April.
“I’m tired of having to worry about the number of disease-carrying animals I’m in contact with,” Giere said. “I can’t go, so I stand on the edge every day. Return to normal.. I can’t go back to normal. ”

“There is no luxury to pretend that the pandemic is over.”

CDC Updated separation guidelines In December, if symptoms disappear or improve, she says she can be released from quarantine 5 days after a positive test and wear a suitable mask for 10 days. Also urged the agency To “avoid people with weakened immunity or at high risk of serious illness” for at least 10 days.
However, it can be difficult to tell if someone, such as a colleague, friend, or passerby, has a weakened immune system or is at high risk, Moreno pointed out.That’s why so many conditions are known as “Invisible illness.”
April Moreno, who was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder a few years ago, says high-risk Americans feel ignored.

Matthew Cortland, who works on disability and health policy at Data for Progress, a left-wing think tank, said: “The length we have to go to reduce some of the risk that society as a whole is burdening us is ridiculous.”

Courtland works permanently at home. However, many friends with chronic illnesses and disabilities do not have the same options. That’s why public health measures are still important, Courtland said. High quality maskMore adaptable personal protective equipment, improved indoor air quality, better testing procedures, and thorough research Treatment.
U.S. increased one key order Preventive therapy Secretary of Health and Welfare Xavier Becerra with weakened immunity announcement last week. But even with that boost, the country will receive only sufficient monoclonal antibody therapy for less than a quarter of its immune-protected population. And while there are other Covid-19 treatments that can help people with severe immunodeficiency, they are still lacking in many parts of the United States and will not be more widely available until spring. Probably, the US Food and Drug Administration said.

“Not enough for millions of immunocompromised patients,” Razonable said. He said his hospital had a “sufficient” supply to cover only the “highest risk group” of people.

Two years later, high-risk Americans are traumatized and exhausted by the new hurdles associated with daily risk assessment and life in the United States during the Covid era.

Courtland said: “I don’t really want to end a pandemic more than people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and weakened immunity. I can’t afford to pretend to end when the pandemic isn’t over. And obviously. Not to. ”

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