I was going to write, “We are living through…” but I stopped myself. “We” are not all living through this lottery of death created by the utter failure of leadership by Gov. Mike Dunleavy, Mayor Dave Bronson and their chorus of anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists who have flooded Alaska hospitals. So some of us are living, others are dying, and so-called “leaders” who refuse to do anything to contain this virus will remain stained with the blood of our fallen neighbors forever.
I get the sense that Gov. Dunleavy thinks this is all just a political game, an excuse for a press release, a lawsuit, a ridiculous tweet. What does the governor not understand about our neighbors dying, every single day, when almost all of them would have lived if he had just used his political clout with the far right to wholeheartedly encourage vaccination?
Mayor Bronson seems to live in an alternate universe, saying “I don’t know what more we can do” when health care providers have already pleaded for the obvious: masking requirements and strong support for vaccination.
As I write this, more than 1,000 Alaskans on average are testing positive for COVID-19 every day, and our nearly 10% positivity rate probably means likely twice that number are actually getting infected. The grim reality is that these numbers mean we’re soon likely to see 10 or more Alaskans dying every single day. This virus— or, really, the failure of Dunleavy and Bronson to do anything to stop it — is going to kill more people than any murderer, any natural disaster in Alaska’s history.
The crisis standard of health care — and the care rationing that results — activated by Dunleavy isn’t just coming for the unvaccinated. God forbid you need hospital care and can’t get it, because unvaccinated Alaskans have made it so there aren’t available beds, regardless of your health care provider. I don’t think we’ve ever had elected “leaders” who have so blithely and callously embraced mass death by their inaction.
It is not evident to me that Dunleavy and Bronson care, or have even reflected on, the magnitude of this tragedy for 30 seconds. Maybe if they did, they’d consider taking some action to save lives instead of issuing another cynical, anti-vaccine press release that will only contribute to the rising body count.
Last but not least, but just as important and serious, our Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson neighbors have now declared a public health emergency to avoid places without masking or distancing.
Kevin McGee is president of the Anchorage NAACP.
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