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Dumb and dumber? 

Five more SLO County residents have died of COVID-19, bringing the total to 279, and 55 more are currently hospitalized, including 16 in the ICU. The county added 460 new confirmed cases since Aug. 20. Thanks to the Delta variant, local cases are surging again. Man, this sucks.

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Are you part of the 60 percent of fully vaccinated local residents? If you are, you're an important part of the solution and haven't fallen for the conspiracy theories and paranoia that seems to have infected a sizable portion of the population. If you're not, you're putting yourself and those around you at greater risk. Why? I mean, seriously! Why?

You can no longer argue, "I don't want to be a guinea pig."

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now fully approved the Pfizer vaccine. According to acting FDA commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock, "While this and other vaccines have met the FDA's rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization, as the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product."

See that? All the vaccines approved for emergency use "met the FDA's rigorous, scientific standards," but now you have one that is fully approved. No more excuses, right?

"If the vaccines work so well, why are cases surging?" you ask.

Good question, Einstein. The first reason is because too many dolts have refused vaccination, preventing the population from achieving herd immunity and actually squashing the disease. The second is too many dolts have refused vaccination, allowing the disease to evolve into the more contagious Delta variant. You think it's bad? Let's not wait for the Epsilon variant to develop, eh?

"Yeah, well, what about vaccine injury? I'll take my chances with the disease."

OK, but according to all the available evidence, that proves you're a total moron. While sore arms and mild fever and body aches are common after vaccination, it sure beats having a tube shoved down your throat with the hope that it might save your life. Sure, most don't get that sick, but will you? Don't be a dumbass.

The bottom line is unless you're medically unfit to risk vaccination, you should be vaccinated! You know who's sick of your bullshit? Medical and mental health personnel, who are bearing the brunt of the pandemic.

Go back and read psychologist Laurie Ferguson's letter to the editor ("You have the power,"): "Pandemic stress is hitting us all. Maybe a mental health counselor can help? Well, they're all full. I've had 19 requests this week for new clients. No problem—my first opening is in January 2022."

Ferguson noted that the last year and a half has been "the busiest of my 25-year career. I have never seen this level of stress, anxiety, depression, and trauma in our community."

Go back and read "Reliving the trauma" about the stress and in some cases PTSD nurses and doctors are feeling as they see cases once again surging and local hospitals filling up.

Dr. Alicia Gonzalez, medical director of Marian Regional Medical Center's Emergency Department, explained: "It was so much more than just seeing sick people. It was arguments about masking or vaccination or 'is this even real?' And I think for our staff, the reality of having to see what we saw at work, and then leave the building into communities where maybe people questioned that it was real, or if we were telling the truth—that took a way bigger emotional toll on all of us."

Between COVID-19 deniers and anti-vaxxers, health care workers have had enough! From June to September 2020, Mental Health America surveyed health care workers and found "93 percent ... were experiencing stress, 86 percent reported experiencing anxiety, 77 percent reported frustration, 76 percent reported exhaustion and burnout, and 75 percent said they were overwhelmed."

But by all means, freedom-loving patriots feel free to refuse vaccination, bitch about mask mandates, and argue that COVID-19 is some sort of government conspiracy. It's your right! It's also everyone else's right to think you are literally so susceptible to misinformation that you're a walking example of the Dunning-Kruger effect, the cognitive bias in which incompetent people believe they're smart.

Because the Delta variant is as transmissible as chickenpox, 6-foot social distancing is insufficient. Try 20 feet! And we should all be wearing masks inside again, though I doubt our political leaders have the fortitude for another mask mandate.

Most of the current hospitalizations could have been prevented if people had been vaccinated. What truly sucks is Delta is so contagious that it's infecting fully vaccinated people. True, more often than not, they don't get debilitatingly ill, but they can transfer it to others, who if unvaccinated can become very ill indeed.

Cal Poly is about to return to in-person classes for fall, meaning SLO is about to get 20,000 or so returning students. The good news is the university reports that 85 percent are fully vaccinated, with another 5 partially vaccinated and planning to get their second dose. Are locals as smart as Poly students? Let's hope so. Δ

The Shredder is fully vaccinated and ready, willing, and able to get a booster shot as soon as they're available. Explain why you're not at shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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