Chuck Hartke

In Illinois and this nation, we have spent billions of dollars trying to provide the best education possible for our children. Due to COVID-19 we have lost a year or more of education. Remote learning has been difficult for most and virtually impossible for some students.

We have watched on the nightly news, sons, daughters, and grandchildren visiting their grandparents though windows.

During all of 2020 we all had hopes of a vaccine that would work effectively against the coronavirus. In late December of 2020, the Pfizer vaccine became available. In January of 2021, those at risk and senior citizens were clamoring to get vaccinated. In Florida, political preference (so it seemed) was given to those areas that heavily supported the governor of that state in the previous election. Decisions like these continue to divide our country.

Eight months ago I was able to get my first shot, followed four weeks later with my second dose. Luckily, I have been relatively healthy and have not needed any elective surgeries.

Suddenly it seemed as though the extreme right and the conspiracy theorist along with the anti-vaccine crowd, raised all kinds of nonsense about the safety of the vaccine. The number of people that were taking the shots dropped. Because a large number of citizens had the vaccine, the number of people being infected with the COVID-19 virus dropped. Medical professionals had suggested that if we could reach 70% of the population to be vaccinated, we would be close to herd immunity. (I hate that term; community immunity would be a better description of what we had hoped to achieve.)

Jack Schultz has been on Facebook alerting the Effingham County community of the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the county. He, along with hospital and medical personnel, have been warning against a second wave of infections because of the lack of immunizations given in the county.

Effingham has been known as the “Crossroads of Opportunity.” We now have become the crossroads of continued infections.

That second wave is here. The virus has mutated to not only to the delta variant, but also the mu variant.

The 2021-’22 school year has begun in Effingham County and were seeing a continued rise in COVID cases in the county and the entire southeastern Illinois region.

What is wrong here? Why are we not getting vaccinated? The federal government is providing the vaccination FREE. All medical data indicates it is safe and effective. As far as I know, no one has found a computer chip in the vaccine.

Statistics show that if you have already been injected with the required two shots of the Pfizer or Moderna one shot of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine you are more than likely not going to get COVID-19 that will result in hospitalizations or death. But for those who have not been vaccinated, the new delta variant could make you very sick and the need for hospitalization. Yes, there have been breakthrough cases on those that have been fully vaccinated, but few have required hospitalization.

Some regions of the country are limiting healthcare because of a lack of ICU beds in the facility. Expectant mothers are being transferred to areas that have sufficient healthcare personnel. Surgery for individuals who need heart bypass surgery or joint replacements, or hernias repaired are being delayed to a date uncertain.

Is it too much to ask for you to just roll up your sleeve and take the shot?

Do it for your kids, grandkids, grandparents, and your neighbors. It is your community. Do not be arrogant, stubborn, foolish, but be a person who is doing is civic duty to protect each other.

Where is your state leadership representatives? Is this not the time that they should stand up and become statesmen for the good of our community are state and our country? We could have ended this pandemic months ago.

Let us stop the spread of the virus by wearing a mask and getting vaccinated. Hopefully, we will not have to cancel Christmas family gatherings again this year.

Teutopolis native Chuck Hartke recently moved to Springfield. He was a state representative for our area for more than 18 years.

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