Barrasso is the one guilty of malpractice on COVID

Submitted by Jim McEvoy
Posted 8/19/21

Dear Editor:

On Aug. 3, the Powell Tribune reported that Wyoming State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist, using new CDC guidelines, recommended that we resume wearing masks indoors due to the …

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Barrasso is the one guilty of malpractice on COVID

Posted

Dear Editor:

On Aug. 3, the Powell Tribune reported that Wyoming State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist, using new CDC guidelines, recommended that we resume wearing masks indoors due to the rapidly spreading Delta COVID variant coupled with the low Wyoming vaccination rate.  

On Aug. 4, Sen. John Barrasso gave the following speech in the Senate, edited for length:

“When it comes to COVID, the best thing you can do is to get vaccinated. I’m a doctor. My family and I have been vaccinated. The evidence is overwhelming that vaccines provide significant protection from serious disease.

But now for the chaos and confusion coming out of the White House and the CDC, they are guilty of medical malpractice. [On] May 13, the president announced that if you have been vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask.

Now what we have is a flip-flop [from the administration] saying that even if you are vaccinated, you need to go back to wearing a mask indoors. How are you going to encourage people to get vaccinated if the message to them is even if you are vaccinated, you still need to go back to wearing a mask indoors? 

The contrast is significant when you look at Nancy Pelosi telling the Capitol police to arrest fully vaccinated [House] staff members if they aren’t wearing a mask while at the same time at the southern border, you have 180,000 people coming in undocumented, unvaccinated from all over the world carrying some of the most incredibly contagious diseases in the history of mankind. The White House and the CDC have lost all credibility.”

This speech is carefully scripted GOP propaganda.

Sen. Barrasso retired from active medical practice in 2007. He was an orthopedic surgeon with no credentials in infectious disease or virology. Neither is he a lawyer. He has no basis to accuse the CDC of “medical malpractice.”

The circumstances of the pandemic have changed. The delta variant of COVID is now the dominant form that may be 50-60% more transmissible than the original strain. Scientists have shown that it attaches more strongly to infected cells resulting in higher levels of replication. Other research suggests that the viral load of an infected individual could be 1,000 times greater than that of the original variant. Hence, there is a much higher probability that it will be shed in larger numbers by infected patients resulting in a greater likelihood of transmission.

CDC data showed that the delta variant was only 1.6% of COVID cases in early May but now has a prevalence of 97%. Another study showed that it causes similar viral loads in both the vaccinated and unvaccinated. There is anecdotal evidence that it may cause more serious illness in children because pediatric hospital admissions for COVID have spiked.  The CDC decision to modify COVID public health guidelines was based strictly on the science. 

Barrasso’s use of the term “flip-flop” was intended as a “dog whistle” because he neglected to mention the scientifically valid reasons for the modifications. 

The mask mandate in the U. S. House came from Dr. Brian P. Monahan, attending physician of Congress, not Nancy Pelosi. A July 18 Capitol Police memo specified that House staff members and visitors were required to wear masks. Failure to comply would result in arrest for unlawful entry (D.C. Code 22-3302). If this involves members of Congress, they would not be immediately arrested but would instead be reported to the House Sergeant at Arms. Nancy Pelosi does not supervise the Capitol police. Barrasso lied.

Barrasso’s offensive description of southern border migrants as disease-infested was intended to provoke anger and xenophobia. It is NOT the language of a physician! The migrants are not the main cause of the spike in the pandemic nor are they more infected than the general population. 

It is the GOP that is sowing “chaos and confusion” to keep their voters outraged at the Biden administration. “Doctor” Barrasso does not care about the facts. That is malpractice.   

Jim McEvoy

Powell

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