Originally published OPINION COLUMNS JANUARY 25 2023
While the hospital and emergency care system in New York still faces staff shortages, Governor Kathy Hochul has dug in her heels over keeping countless healthcare workers unemployed over their vaccination status. This would have been somewhat understandable several years ago, but her ignorance regarding Covid is mind-boggling considering her position as head of one of the largest states in the country.
Jennifer Lewke of News 10 NBC posed the question to Hochul, saying that hospitals and nursing homes are waiting for guidance from the Department of Health on when they can hire back unvaccinated workers. Hochul’s answer is shocking. “I don’t think the answer is to have someone who comes in who is sick be exposed to someone who can give them coronavirus, give them Covid-19. I don’t know that’s the right answer, but I’m pretty sure it’s not. I think everyone who goes into a healthcare facility or nursing home should have the assurance, and their family members should know, that we have taken all steps to protect the public health, and that ensures that people who come in contact with them will not pass along the virus.” When pressed further on this, Hochul said, “I cannot put people into harm’s way.”
Does Governor Kathy Hochul believe that the vaccine stops transmission of the coronavirus? If so, she’s guilty of spready dangerous misinformation, as the FDA’s own website states, “At this time, data are not available to make a determination about how long the vaccine will provide protection, nor is there evidence that the vaccine prevents transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from person to person.” She would also have had to ignore the spokesperson from Pfizer, who testified to the European Parliament last October that they never even tested if the vaccine prevents transmission of the virus.
Hochul maintains this lie for the purpose of stubborn rigidity at the expense of the sick. Since the order was overturned by the courts, Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James are appealing and fighting to keep their tyrannical overreach of executive authority. Giving in now just because it’s scientifically – and morally – correct, would only weaken that authority.
Yet, according to Hochul herself during her State of the State address, it takes an average of 3.3 hours to be seen by an emergency doctor in New York. This means that New York State has one of the longest average wait times for patients in the country, causing major backups for ambulances looking to drop off their patients. Rachel Weaver, deputy chief of patient care at Monroe Ambulance, said her crews are often stuck waiting in long lines for their patients to be admitted to the emergency department at local hospitals. The problem began during the pandemic, and she said it has not gotten better.
“Traditionally what would happen, we would get to the hospital and it would be normal for an ambulance crew to get out within a half an hour and clear the hospital,” Weaver said. “But now we are seeing times upward of an hour, two hours. Some days we are having instances where our crews are sitting for four hours, five hours, waiting for a bed in the emergency department.”
Hochul is continuing to push a policy that is not only against the known science and data, which harms the patients, but also actively hurts those who are refusing to vaccinate for whatever reason, harming the healthcare worker as well. Hochul needs to reverse course on this right away, before more people are killed because the Governor refuses to admit she was wrong.