Alva Review-Courier -

Think before you give to Hurricane Ida relief


September 1, 2021

Americans are generous and ready to step up to help those in need. Hurricane Ida has damaged the power grid and left many people stranded in Louisiana. While you may want to send relief supplies, the organizations that are experts in this kind of recovery say what they need is money. They can buy supplies in bulk quantities that make donations go further.

Here are some examples from Good 360 of what well-meaning people send after disasters:

According to a study led by José Holguín-Veras, an expert on humanitarian logistics, 50 to 70 percent of the goods that arrive during emergencies is not needed or appropriate for the recovery nor the region.

Some of the most mismatched items sent during times of crisis, as cataloged by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and its Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI), include:

• Weight-loss drinks and chandeliers donated after the Rwandan genocide of 1994

• Prom gowns given to Honduras after Hurricane Mitch

• Fertility drugs sent to the island nation after the 2010 Haiti earthquake

Good360 offers this advice:

It’s natural to see images of devastation on TV and have an immediate, emotionally driven urge to “do something.” But this often leads to unintentional consequences, poor planning and unwanted donations. For example, one California community was inundated with 50,000 sticks of deodorant after a devastating wildfire. Disaster relief experts call this the “second disaster.”

To avoid wasteful giving, take the long-term view when planning your disaster response. Many disaster-hit communities are flooded with donations in the first days and weeks of a catastrophe, but they are left to fend for themselves in the months and years to come.

Shift your giving from a reactionary approach to one that’s focused on creating resiliency. Consider how you can help a community build back even stronger than they were before the disaster.

Drought and Fire Danger

The frequency of rural fires in this area is concerning. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows northwest Oklahoma as being in a moderate drought. We’ve had very little rain lately, and conditions in pastures and fields are ripe for fires.

Please keep this in mind if you’re in a rural area. The heat from an exhaust on a vehicle in dry grass or an inadvertent toss of a burning cigarette could spark a blaze.

The Cost of Waiting

The Covid vaccine is now 65% effective, but still prevents major illness.

When we began this year, the Food and Drug Administration estimated that our Covid-19 vaccines were 90% effective. But we took too long to get vaccinated and, now that the virus has had time to find ways around the vaccines, the shots are about 65% effective. As vaccines go, that is not awful, but we have missed the chance we once had to end the pandemic. And the vaccines are still very effective at keeping you out of the hospital.

This stark assessment is contained in a new, deep study published by the CDC. The study ran 35 weeks and involved more than 4,100 people from Dec. 14, 2020 through Aug. 14, 2021. The researchers opened the door that longer studies may alter the results. The patients in this study were all “health care personnel, first responders, and other essential and frontline workers” who receive weekly tests in Miami, Florida; Duluth, Minnesota; Portland, Oregon; Temple, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.

The researchers also point out that even with reduced efficacy, the vaccines work quite well at protecting you from severe illness. The vaccines just cannot protect you from milder cases of Covid-19.

Normal may come in the spring? Dr. Anthony Fauci says if we step up and get vaccinated, we might get back to our pre-pandemic way of life in spring 2022.

Delayed Surgeries, Staffing Shortages

Roll Call alerts us that yes, hospitals are full in some places, but not all from Covid-19. A lot of it is, however, related to Covid-19. Some of the contributing problems range from “delayed surgeries that are now urgent to mental health problems among children.”

Rising Covid-19 cases combined with delayed non-Covid-19 medical procedures is having a ripple effect, forcing some patients who need care to travel further and further away from their homes, said Dave Dillon, the spokesman for the Missouri Hospital Association.

Even states less affected by the current wave of Covid-19 cases have reported spikes in hospitalizations and limited intensive-care bed availability as more modest increases in Covid-19 cases combine with a backlog of surgeries put off in 2020 and surges in mental health cases linked to the pandemic.

“It’s not just that more people are coming in the door, but increasingly we're having some struggles, getting people out of the hospital, in part because we're seeing staffing shortages, all throughout health care,” said Nancy Foster, vice president for quality and patient safety policy at the American Hospital Association.

Fully Vaccinated 29 Times Less Likely to be Hospitalized

A large California study based on 43,000 patients found that unvaccinated people were 29 times more likely to be hospitalized than vaccinated people and about five times more likely to be infected than vaccinated people.

This explains why full vaccination is so important. But full vaccination is not a guarantee you will not be infected. The exact language of the study states:

Much lower percentages of fully vaccinated persons infected with SARS-CoV-2 were hospitalized (3.2%), were admitted to an intensive care unit (0.5%), and required mechanical ventilation (0.2%) compared with partially vaccinated persons (6.2%, 1.0%, and 0.3%, respectively) and unvaccinated persons (7.6%, 1.5%, and 0.5%, respectively).

On July 25, the SARS-CoV-2 infection rate among unvaccinated persons was 4.9 times and the hospitalization rate was 29.2 times the rates among fully vaccinated persons.

Local Covid Numbers

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) provides daily updates on new Covid-19 infections. However, the breakdown on the city and county level is only available weekly on Wednesdays.

In the last update on Aug. 25, Alfalfa County had 21 active cases, a decrease of one from the previous week. Woods Count had 64, an increase of two. Grant County was at 10, Harper County four, Major County 37 and Woodward County 36. All of these counties were at the orange risk level like most of the state. In Tuesday’s report, the OSDH said there are 22,796 active cases in Oklahoma.


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