Boebert country is facing a possible COVID-19 disaster: report

Boebert country is facing a possible COVID-19 disaster: report
U.S. Congresswoman-elect Lauren Boebert speaking with attendees at the 2020 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, image via Gage Skidmore.
GOP's Lauren Boebert accused a fellow lawmaker of trying to 'incite a riot' — and it blew up in her face

With around 65% of the U.S. population having been at least partially vaccinated for COVID-19, millions of Americans are celebrating the fact that they are less likely to die from the novel coronavirus — which, according to Johns Hopkins researchers in Baltimore, has killed more than 3.9 million people worldwide. Yet anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories on the far right are discouraging some Americans from getting vaccinated. And journalist Pilar Melendez, in an article published by the Daily Beast on June 25, points to non-vaccination as one of the reasons why COVID-19 is especially bad in a Colorado county.

"For the last seven weeks," Melendez reports, "health officials in Mesa County, Colorado, have been scrambling to contain the highly transmissible Delta variant of the novel coronavirus. But now, as a huge music festival kicks off, time may be up. As the first location in Colorado to positively identify the presence of the variant deemed potentially more deadly and at least 50% more contagious on May 5, the county, nestled at the state's border with Utah, only had five cases. Within a month, with the vaccination rate in the area low, the variant positivity rate soared 2500%."

Melendez adds, "And health-care officials believe that number will only go higher — especially with the start of Country Jam, the state's largest three-day music festival that has already sold 50,000 tickets. The potential disaster site pitted vaccine holdouts against an extra-contagious variant of COVID-19 — one that may make people sicker, faster — in a local encapsulation of a phenomenon experts fear will play out in anti-vaxxer bastions nationwide."

Dr. Thomas Tobin, who serves as chief medical examiner in Community Hospital in Grand Junction, warns that the Delta variant is not to be taken lightly.

Tobin told the Beast, "I've never seen anything like this in my 20 years in health care. Pretty much everyone that's coming into the hospital is unvaccinated. Some of those people swear they don't believe in COVID all the way up to when they're in their hospital room, strapped to machines. And now with Country Jam? From a medical standpoint, the question is how much worse is it going to get for us here in Mesa."

Amanda Mayle, a spokesperson for the Mesa County Health Department, told the Beast, "Right now, we are seeing more Delta variant [cases] in our community. So as of right now, the Delta variant is our dominant strain."

According to Dr. Amesh Adalja of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, anti-vaxxers are making the Delta variant much worse in the United States than it has to be.

Adalja told the Beast, "(The) only reason we are even talking about the Delta variant in the United States is because of the unvaccinated population. Vaccine hesitancy is making the Delta variant a bigger problem than it needed to be so we will see the variant spread rapidly in an unvaccinated population."

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