#5SmartReads - January 14, 2021
Hitha on the COVID endgame (and the more pressing near-term battle) and your multitudes
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Elective surgeries are getting cancelled. Hospital staff are still showing up to work even when they test positive. The beds are full of patients with COVID, with not nearly enough monoclonal antibodies to treat everyone in need.
Omicron is collapsing our healthcare system, and our hospitals specifically. That’s not an exaggeration - that’s the truth.
Emily documents the stories of fellow hospital staff in her ‘Health Systems Overwhelmed’ highlight. In every COVID update she offers, Laurel documents the rising positive cases admitted to her hospital’s emergency department. Rola’s hospital in Boston has cancelled all elective surgeries (which, for the patients, doesn’t feel all that elective if they’re in serious pain).
These are not the exceptions. They are the tragic rule.
No life in this country is disposable. But not taking any precautions is doing the exact opposite - especially that of our healthcare workers, who have been in the trenches for the past THREE YEARS.
Please, folks. Mask up (5 layers or bust), stay at home if you are able, and hunker down so we ease the strain on our hospitals.
You Contain Multitudes (Ask Polly)
This reminds me of some wise advice my friend Rahaf shared when I mentioned that I am consistently inconsistent with the things I should be consistent with (fitness, nutrition, etc).
“It may not be inconsistency. It could be that you have different cycles.”
That was such a powerful shift and had me reflecting on the moments I’m on top of all my stuff, and the moments I’m not (usually the result of burnout and consequently sloth mode where I watch all the reality television and eat all the pad Thai).
This very smart piece reminded me of Rahaf’s essay in reframing the binary narrative of “I’m on top of my shit” and “I’m a sloth” and filling in the spectrum between the two - and finding strengths of each of these multitudes.
(A big thanks to Saumya for sharing this with me!)
January 12, 2022 (Letters from an American)
As much as I would like to think there’s a miracle to happen here, I have a really bad feeling about the fate of the voting rights bill making their way through the Senate this weekend.
Which is awful, because the actual content of these bills should garner plenty of bipartisan support (just as the Voting Rights Act did the last time it was voted on) - and that’s what Heather Cox Richardson outlines deftly in this essay.
If you have people in your life that are critical of these bills, it’s worth reading this to counter their points and ask the important question:
“What exactly is un-democratic about every eligible citizen being able to vote in every election?”
If congressional Democrats aren’t successful with getting these voting rights bills passed, the fight at the local level becomes even more important.
And Laphonza Butler has been leading that fight for decades - as an organizer, a senior member of VP Harris’ presidential campaign team, and now as the president of EMILY’s List.
I’ll leave you with the best advice VP Harris gave Laphonza (which I think we all could use): Lean into your ambition.
(Shameless plug - WE’RE SPEAKING has much more wisdom and tactical tips from VP Harris - get your copy, if you haven’t yet!)
Most of us have been waiting for the day we’re on the other side of this pandemic. There was hope last spring…and then Delta hit. Things seemed to have mellowed out in the fall…and then Omicron hit.
So what now?
I fall into the “hunkering down for the next few weeks” camp, knowing the strain Omicron has on our healthcare system and having the immense privilege of being able to work from home with no disruption. It’s the very least I can do, especially with a child too young to be vaccinated and with no infection-conferred immunity.
Until the vaccines are authorized for the under 5 population, antivirals are more readily available, and we get through a surge without breaking our hospital system, I’ll be taking the same precautions we’ve been taking even after getting our vaccines.
And I desperately hope COVID becomes truly endemic as soon as possible.