By JAMES KUROPATWINSKI
Nov. 24 came and went, and whereas the laws of biology are flexible enough to allow medical professionals to administer the second vaccine dose a day early, the laws of bureaucracy (as verified by the staff of LANL Occupational Medicine) were not as accommodating.
“Return to work” is defined as day 15 (i.e., the day after “fully vaccinated”) and day 15 for me fell on Thanksgiving Day. Hence, my return to work was Monday Nov. 29. I was quite thankful to have one more weekend to enjoy the accommodation.
Return to work was an interesting experience. Prior to setting foot on Lab property, I had to do COVID training. An interesting observation of that training was the hierarchy of COVID controls in which the vaccine does not appear. Of course, where would that aspect of COVID control be presented: PPE, Administrative Controls, Engineering Controls, Substitution, or Elimination?
With regards to the continual push for boosters, my premonitions as documented in my religious exemption are becoming realized, we are developing a populous, which does not have an enduring immunity to a natural hazard because we did not pursue a diverse and redundant solution to the crisis.
Now let us revisit the “pandemic” here in NM. Again, the CDC’s visualization of “New cases of COVID-19, reported to CDC, in CA, FL, NM, TX, AZ, and CO, Seven-day moving average of new cases (per 100K) by number of days since 1 average daily cases (per 100K) first recorded”, one clearly sees the cases in CA, FL, and TX are clearly muted [~20/100k] (website: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#compare-trends). Even cases in CO and AZ are falling [~40/100k] from their mysterious increases of a few weeks ago. Yet, New Mexico’s cases remain high [~60/100k] – and have steadily increased since the mandates were promulgated in August. And now with Xi, Nu, Omicron upon us, I am more and more reminded of the mentality from “1984” in which the people are kept in a state of fear to the detriment of their liberty, at least here in New Mexico.
Though of no benefit to me now, I again ask decision makers to take an objective look at the “risk” of COVID today and weigh it with the continued violation of our right to bodily autonomy. With thousands of “breakthrough” infections in New Mexico, and handfuls here at “essentially fully vaccinated LANL”, what real risk do those faithful and loyal LANL employees who are still on their “accommodation” pose? I must ask, is “zero risk” being sought? Any person who steps outside their door, or follows any expert knows, that day will never come. Please recall Moderna’s CEO statement that COVID will be considered endemic [like the flu] in the not too distant future. Can we ask local and national policy makers to adopt a risk acceptance level that the rest of the world is seemingly adopting; acceptance of natural immunity, routine testing, and diverse vaccines (which would allow for fully ethical vaccines to be available)?
Again I want to express my admiration to those holding to their convictions regarding the vaccine mandate. I also want to thank those who have provided emotional support for the Kuropatwinski family during these last couple of months. These are indeed trying times, and the tight-knitness of the Los Alamos community is heart warming and is why we live here. On a personal note, I did take advantage of the accommodation to expand a church ministry, assist at (my wife) Shelly’s and my small business, become a certified life-purpose coach, and start up an open-table night for leatherwork at the shop (Atomic City Quilts).
According to the U.S. Surgeon General recent advisory statement regarding emerging mental health challenges, (website: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-12-07/surgeon-general-advisory-youth-mental-health-crisis-looms), these types of local IN-PERSON enrichment activities are just what we need right now to overcome the societal trauma experienced over the last couple of years.
As an afterword, a response to a comment toward one of my previous letters is warranted. The letter states: “So once we have a large consensus on the path forward, it’s time to stop sabotaging the accepted plan even if you think you have a better idea. It’s hard to sympathize with those encouraging freeloading on Los Alamos’s high vaccination, especially when arguing it’s a “social liberty” but not a social responsibility.” (link: https://ladailypost.com/letter-to-the-editor-on-stopping-the-spread-of-covid-and-misinformation-in-los-alamos/) I’ll allow the plaque in front of the Los Alamos Post Office to be my reply, “As long as men are free to ask what they must – free to say what they think – free to think what they will = freedom can never be lost and science can never regress.”