Recent Articles

Pandemic Continues To Hit Military Veterans Hard

By

About two months ago I wrote here about the pandemic and the heavier toll it was taking on our veterans. The casualties were often those with pre-existing conditions that were consequences of their military service. At the time the data showed the following:

“According to the most current figures as I write, nearly 80,000 COVID-19 cases have been recorded at VA medical facilities. Of that number, just over 4,000 have died. Meaning that the rate of death is 5%. Overall, COVID-19 cases in the U.S. now stand at 9.5 million, with just over 233,000 deaths, which is a rate of 2.5%. Do the simple math. Veterans are evidently dying at twice the rate. It could be that the wide age distribution in the general population affects overall COVID-19 death rates and is not comparable to the age distribution within the VA population. Nonetheless, 5% vs. 2.5% gives one pause.”

Today, that same paragraph with updated data reads:

“According to the most current figures as I write, nearly 142,511 COVID-19 cases have been recorded at VA medical facilities. Of that number, just over 6,192 have died. Meaning that the rate of death is 4%. Overall, COVID-19 cases in the U.S. now stand at 18.5 million, with just over 327,000 deaths, which is a rate of 1.7%. Do the simple math. Veterans are evidently dying at twice the rate. It could be that the wide age distribution in the general population affects overall COVID-19 death rates and is not comparable to the age distribution within the VA population. Nonetheless, 4% vs. 1.7% gives one pause.

As COVID deaths at VA facilities have gone up 50%, in tandem with the number of deaths nationwide, the veterans’ death rates as a percentage of the veterans’ infection rates remain double that of the general population. Additionally, approximately 3,000 health workers have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. overall. Of that number, 90 VA health workers have died from COVID-19, about 3% of the total health care workers nationwide. Dark times still lie ahead, however on a more optimistic note:

The Veterans Administration has put out the following message regarding the rollout of COVID vaccinations for our veterans. This was in an email I received several days ago:

“COVID-19 vaccines: Stay informed and help us prepare

We’re working to get COVID-19 vaccines to Veterans as quickly and safely as possible based on CDC guidelines and available supply. We need your help to prepare. And we want to keep you informed at every step.

Sign up below to help us understand your interest in getting a vaccine. We’ll send you updates on how we’re providing vaccines across the country—and when you can get your vaccine if you want one. We’ll also offer information and answers to your questions along the way.

When you sign in, we can fill in some of your information for you.”

This is the place to SIGN IN.
Margaret Klessens
Margaret Klessens

If you are a veteran, I suggest doing so immediately. Signing in does not mean you are compelled to get your vaccine from the VA. If you have an opportunity to receive an available vaccine before you are notified by the VA, then get vaccinated immediately. Subsequently, you can simply turn down any offer from the VA. Please pass this information to every veteran you know.

Meanwhile, the first VA patient to get the COVID vaccine in a VA facility was a 96 year old WWII veteran, Margaret Klessens, a resident of the Community Living Center in the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital. For the moment, vaccines are destined only for the front-line care workers and residents of VA facilities. Given that veterans are now getting their vaccines, the U.S. Flag at the Veterans Flag Pole in Fairhaven, which had been at half-staff since April (Veterans, COVID, and a Flag at Half-Staff), was returned to full staff to recognize that veterans are now getting protection against this terrible virus.

Pandemic Continues To Hit Military Veterans Hard

By Dick ConoboyOn Dec 23, 2020

About two months ago I wrote here about the pandemic and the heavier toll it was taking on our veterans. The casualties were often those with pre-existing conditions that were [...]

‘Now we will have a voice’—Bellingham Herald’s newsroom joins union

By Ralph SchwartzOn Dec 22, 2020

There’s no telling how far a newspaper will fall. When I started as a reporter at The Bellingham Herald in 2011, some 25 people were working in the newsroom, including six [...]

2 comments, most recent 3 months ago

Is Public Safety Facing a Crisis…or an Opportunity?

By Jane BrightOn Dec 20, 2020

COVID-19 has crushed old work routines and changed the way most jobs are performed, some permanently. Factory jobs have been redesigned to limit close contact, doctors care for us through [...]

1 comment, most recent 1 month ago

Lilliquist Tries to Change the Past

By Jon HumphreyOn Dec 19, 2020

As you may have noticed in the comments of my previous article on NWCitizen, Michael Lilliquist has been attacking my latest Comcast article. He is pretending I have not compiled [...]

The Great Conjunction

By Deb GaberOn Dec 15, 2020

On the Winter Solstice, Monday, December 21, we will have an opportunity to see an astronomic phenomenon that has not been this close and this visible to humans for 800 years: a [...]

One Year Later

By Guest WriterOn Dec 13, 2020

Guest writer, Olivia Hobson, is a third year environmental journalism student at Western Washington University. She moved to Bellingham from Colorado three years ago, and writes about environmental and scientific [...]

1 comment, most recent 4 months ago

The Thanksgiving Surge: How Fared Whatcom County?

By David A. SwansonOn Dec 12, 2020

Public health experts issued more than a few warnings about the danger of gatherings over Thanksgiving and although the surge in Covid-19 cases they expected nationwide took place, it was [...]

5 comments, most recent 4 months ago

Comcast Rate Hike: Getting Less for More

By Jon HumphreyOn Dec 11, 2020

Comcast is raising the rate on your service by $3/month for most customers starting on your next bill. Their promos state, “This has required investment in our high-capacity network, which [...]

4 comments, most recent 4 months ago

The Face of the Planning Commission on January 1st

By Dick ConoboyOn Dec 08, 2020

The Planning Commission is probably one of the most important of all the city’s commissions and boards. The commission reviews and makes recommendations on the city’s Comprehensive Plan [...]

4 comments, most recent 4 months ago

The Douglas Avenue Trail

By Guest WriterOn Dec 02, 2020

Daniel Kirkpatrick guest writes. He lives in the Happy Valley neighborhood and is one of several community leaders on the south side who are respected and supported by most residents. [...]

3 comments, most recent 4 months ago

Dirty Deal at Douglas and 21st

By Tip JohnsonOn Dec 02, 2020

Update Dec 8: Last night the Bellingham City Council did not give final approval to the street vacation request, but sent it back to the Hearing Examiner for further review. I [...]

10 comments, most recent 4 months ago

Nervous About the Vaccines? Don’t Be

By Deb GaberOn Nov 28, 2020

Are you a little anxious about how they’ve rushed some vaccines through at the fastest rate in human history? Maybe concerned about whether less than a year was enough [...]

4 comments, most recent 4 months ago

False Fast Speeds, Bad Connections, & Broken Promises

By Jon HumphreyOn Nov 24, 2020

I recently received the Speedtest.net data on a part of the Bellingham school network, pictured above. You should note up front that the schools block all independent testing of [...]

If Campers Had Housing, They Wouldn’t Be Camping

By Guest WriterOn Nov 23, 2020

Douglas Gustafson guest writes, with assistance from Lisa E. Papp. Doug is Chairman of HomesNOW! Not Later, an all-volunteer nonprofit organization operating in Bellingham and Whatcom County. HomesNOW operates Unity [...]

4 comments, most recent 4 months ago

The Big Lie of Republican Environmental Values

By John ServaisOn Nov 21, 2020

This article in today’s Huffington Post, Trump Swiftly Blows Up His One Decent Conservation Action, is both stunning and devastating. Last August, President Trump signed a multi-billion dollar public [...]

2 comments, most recent 4 months ago

Just Dying To See The Family?

By Dick ConoboyOn Nov 20, 2020

The answer is, “Don’t!” That holiday smooch might be the kiss of death. The perfect storm is about to play out, not only in Whatcom County but nationwide. As [...]

Shop Local and Shop Early

By Guest WriterOn Nov 19, 2020

Chuck Robinson guest writes. Chuck, with his wife Dee, founded Village Books and Paper Dreams in Bellingham’s Fairhaven district in 1980. Since passing on the business to three staff members [...]

Drilling Deeper into Whatcom County: Covid-19 & Political Orientation

By David A. SwansonOn Nov 19, 2020

This article is co-authored with Matt Cropper, Zoran Stojakovic, and Eric Tyberg. We thank Mike Mohrman and Tom Kimpel for technical assistance. Swanson and Tyberg reported earlier that nationwide, counties [...]

3 comments, most recent 4 months ago

Stop the Lying, Doug

By Michael RiordanOn Nov 17, 2020

LEST WE FORGET, a certain state senator from the northern reaches of Whatcom County played a bit part in bringing the current excuse for a president into the White House. [...]

8 comments, most recent 4 months ago

Did Trump Help Democrats take the 2020 election in Washington?

By David A. SwansonOn Nov 15, 2020

This article is co-authored with Eric Tyberg, a retired IT executive and consultant residing in Lincoln, California. Originally from Falun, Wisconsin, he rose through the ranks at IBM and formed [...]

2 comments, most recent 5 months ago