Why is Dr Vasek the Somervell County Health Authority??

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Why is Dr Vasek the Somervell County Health Authority??

Post by salon »

We are still in the middle of a pandemic where there is as of yet no vaccine. Reports are that the level of Covid_19 is going to rise over the winter. I have looked regularly at the Glen Rose Medical Center website for updates on what's going on here locally, even when the website gives an error that it is unsafe, such as the message I got today.

Here is the press release from Dr Vacek from October 16, 2020 (yesterday).

In it, Dr Steven Vacek expresses some frustration but here's the kicker.
Like most of you reading this release, I grow weary of this disease. I cannot wait for it to go away, so that life can return to “normal”, whatever that may be. Today, I am going to write about different topics than the standard for the last 5 months or so. I am not reporting testing data any longer. The State of Texas has pretty good numbers on the COVID dashboard page.
He is the Somervell County Public Health Authority but apparently since he's *frustrated* he isn't going to attempt to do his job here locally but instead refer people to the State of Texas webpage for testing data. Why, again, then, is he the *authority*? Who decided to make him so? Maybe whoever did that (was it Danny Chambers?) should find someone that takes his job seriously. Frankly, I'd like to see MORE data, such as what ages are affected, and how people got infected, without violating HIPAA data. If this is actually a policy of Glen Rose Medical Center, why is that? It may be that he just has very little public health experience, as he said in the March 31 2020 City of Glen Rose Town Council meeting.
I am frustrated by our tendency to expect black and white answers to this virus, and how to combat it. Too many people expect perfection, which is unattainable in either the prevention of or treatment of this disease. Masks work. There is no doubt scientifically. Do they work all the time? No they don’t. Nothing does! The most important function of a mask is to decrease the potential shedding from a presymptomatic or symptomatic patient to those around them. There is evidence that suggests that asymptomatic patients are much less contagious overall. Unfortunately, only hindsight is 20/20, and none of us can go back in time to put our masks on retrospectively.
Sounds a little whiny, eh? Yeah, nothing works 100 percent of the time but where is the strong and prudent advice for people to wear masks and take it SERIOUSLY.. as well as social distance.

As the saying goes "Face masks don't always work. Neither does a parachute but if I jump out of a plane, I still want one" Nowhere in his press release does he press the issue of how important it is to wear masks;ie that people SHOULD wear masks, and get specific about where to wear them. It isn't only when there are 6 people or more and never has been. In fact, he sounds pretty whiny and defensive in that last sentence, undoubtedly because he didn't stress the importance of wearing masks when in public. Is he being blamed because he wasn't more specific and authoritative about wearing masks? And apparently still isn't.

Here's what the CDC said as of Sept 2020, and apparently it's the place to go look rather than rely on Vacek since Vacek is going to refer people to that site anyway.
Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others
You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
The mask is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
Everyone should wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
Masks should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
Do NOT use a mask meant for a healthcare worker. Currently, surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.
Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The mask is not a substitute for social distancing.
Here's the CD from July 2020
In an editorial published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), CDC reviewed the latest science and affirms that cloth face coverings are a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19 that could reduce the spread of the disease, particularly when used universally within communities. There is increasing evidence that cloth face coverings help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.

“We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” said CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”
From April 2020- CDC says to wear a face mask WHENEVER YOU LEAVE HOME
In a news briefing Friday, President Trump said his administration supports new nationwide recommendations on wearing face masks. Previously, the CDC advised that only symptomatic people need to wear masks, partly to leave N95 and other medical-grade masks for health care workers who need them.

The White House and CDC officials have been in a “turf battle,” according to the Washington Post, with the agency supporting adoption of face masks. President Trump offered mixed messaging, stressing that mask wearing was “only a recommendation” and voluntary. He added that he wasn’t planning on wearing a mask.
Part of the problem seems to be that the President of the United States isn't setting a good example for Americans, even though he has been aware of the problems and deliberately lied to the public about the danger. Shouldn't a local public health officer, especially one that refers people to the CDC be responsible where Trump has not? I think so.

At one point, the City of Glen Rose was trying to decide whether to allow people to hang out in Big Rocks Park. Vacek not only had little problem with it, but didn't go farther to say that people should social distance and wear masks while there. Now, he, as a public health officer, is not the police, but sheesh, could have been on the right side.

Further, in the part of the press release talking about lockdowns, he says
My opinion, is to gradually open things up, let business owners do what they are comfortable with, but mask wearing should be mandatory in certain circumstances. I suppose that is straddling the fence, but that is really where the truth can be found most of the time.
"My opinion". Certain circumstances. Straddling the fence. Where is the straightforward information that says *what* circumstances are mandatory for wearing masks? I grow weary of seeing people who want to argue that they shouldn't have to wear masks at all,. So selfish and reckless. Adding that I find his non-serious paragraph about masks to be irresponsible. Of course, he didn't wholesale recommend masks when he first was making blabby public pronouncements and it almost sounds like people are giving him grief for not doing so. Adding that it's the federal government and the state that are laying down the requirements, so why should anyone care what his own opinion is? One can only suppose he would pick and choose from the federal and state orders and supersede them with his own thoughts.

Since Vasek seems to be sloughing off his job to other agencies, he can apparently safely be ignored.
But don't ignore Big Tex! (pic from the DMN)
“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”- Theodore Roosevelt

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