If We Stay Divided We Will Never Defeat COVID

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Like President BidenJoe BidenCarville advises Democrats to ‘stop being a whiny party’ struggles to find a COVID message that resonates with a larger percentage of the public, it should take a page from Martin Luther King Jr., who promoted inclusivity in one of the greatest speeches of all time.

In his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, Dr King said that “when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and hamlet, from every state and city, we will be able to speed that up. day when all of God’s children, blacks and whites, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, can join hands and sing the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last. ”

Inclusiveness must include the unvaccinated as well as the vaccinated, the boosted as the unboosted, those who have recovered from COVID as those who have never had it, and those who think they have had it but cannot. to prove.

As a doctor, I take care of all patients, regardless of their vaccination status. Along the same lines, the President needs to stop calling this an “unvaccinated pandemic” – not only does this statement deepen our divisions, but the omicron variant is spreading among the vaccinated and unvaccinated.

Make no mistake: a fully vaccinated and boosted patient is far less likely to end up in hospital, where our healthcare heroes are already overwhelmed. But this reality is also true for someone who has recently recovered from COVID: the vaccine also clearly decreases your risk of problematic “Long COVID” symptoms, including cognitive difficulties and lung or heart problems – another big reason why everyone who is eligible for the vaccine should take it.

Yet mandates and widespread mockery have no place in the current climate, in which months-long restrictions and prolonged shutdowns have caused enormous psychological and economic damage.

The president needs to take a card from Dr. King’s oratorical deck and recognize that we’re all in this together. The virus does not differentiate, it can infect us all. We need to turn our attention to the rest of the world, where many underdeveloped regions are grossly undervaccinated and could easily produce new variants, especially among immunocompromised people who cannot fight the virus properly. We can boost as much as we want, but billions of copies of the virus in poorly vaccinated regions will continue to mutate and develop variants that can be rapidly transmitted, giving them a survival advantage, as in the case of omicron .

This virus is a formidable enemy, no matter what we do to detect it, prevent it or treat it. We must develop an inclusive strategy based on kindness, compassion and education. Reprimanding, belittling or marginalizing is neither effective nor fair, otherwise I would never treat a smoker with emphysema, an alcoholic or a drug addict. These are all self-inflicted illnesses that strain our healthcare system, yet I treat them all the same — and so do every doctor and healthcare practitioner I know.

This virus has defied expectations and predictions, and humbled us all. We must act accordingly, from the President of the United States down, admitting our mistakes and adjusting our approach, whether it is masks, tests, treatments, vaccines, schools or containment and closure strategies.

We need the cooperation of everyone in the world to get us there, and we must do so to achieve our goal of defeating COVID.

Marc Siegel, MD, is Professor of Medicine and Medical Director of Doctor Radio at NYU Langone Health. He is a medical correspondent for Fox News and author of the new book “COVID; The Politics of Fear and the Power of Science.”

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