Category: Coronavirus pandemic

Mesa County Concerned Citizen meme demonstrates local cluelessness about respiratory transmission of disease

Meme in an email blast sent out by the far right group Mesa County Concerned Citizen on 11/15/21, showing that likely many local people lack any understanding of how respiratory disease and its transmission work — information that is massively important to getting a pandemic under control

The above meme was sent out in an email blast last November 15, 2021 by the far right extremist group Mesa County Concerned Citizen.

The meme makes it clear that many Mesa County residents likely lack an understanding about how the transmission of respiratory diseases works — information that is massively important to our ability to bring the virus under control. This could be one reason why the coronavirus has been able to spread so efficiently in Mesa County, and why it is likely to persist here.

7th Street Deli threatened with eviction

You’ve seen it…you drive by it all the time. After 15 years in this location, the much-loved 7th Street Deli, a woman-owned and operated family business that makes home-made food, has been threatened with eviction.

The 7th Street Deli just south of St. Mary’s Hospital may soon be forced to close its doors.

The restaurant has been there for 15 years, and has been owned and operated by Debbie Allen and her daughter for the last 8 years. It is woman-owned business and the only restaurant close to the hospital. Their food is damn good and now they might have to close.

On January 5th, the landlord who owns the Medical Arts complex where the deli is located threatened Debbie and her family with eviction by the end of the month for non-payment of rent. The eviction notice comes after the restaurant was faced with a long series of unfortunate events starting in 2018. It has been struggling to come back, and just as business is finally starting to improve again, now this.

How did they get into this position after having so much success for so long?

Former KKCO weatherman Butch McCain now shilling for anti-vaxxers

Former KKCO Channel 11 weatherman Butch McCain, who was fired last October for refusing to get vaccinated against Covid-19, stands in front of a fake weather map in a video promoting the anti-vax group Stop The Mandate GJ

Former longtime KKCO weatherman Butch McCain, who was fired from KKCO last October after refusing to get a Covid-19 vaccine in compliance with his employer Gray TV’s Covid-19 vaccine policy, is now promoting the anti-vax group Stop the Mandate GJ, which is encouraging others in our area to also refuse the vaccine.

McCain now appears on the first page of StoptheMandateGJ’s website, talking in front of a fake weather map and saying in part,

“It’s not about Covid any more, it’s about forced compliance…Let’s be the resistance to their nationwide tyranny…

 

HD-55 candidate Cindy Ficklin (R) now blames taxpayers and a Daily Sentinel reporter for her getting Covid, and is taking unproven treatments for the disease

Ficklin says she “went underground” to get Ivermectin to treat her Covid-19 infection, and displays the bottle in a Facebook post. There is no evidence Ivermectin cures Covid-19, and the FDA urges people not to use it.

Republican House District 55 candidate Cindy Ficklin is using non-medically approved treatments for Covid-19, including the animal de-worming medication Ivermectin. She also says she is inhaling “silver and Glutathione” with a nebulizer to “prevent conjestion [sic] from hardening in my lungs.”

Anti-mask, anti-vax Republican candidate for HD55 Cindy Ficklin has Covid-19, blames it on government

Cindy Ficklin announced on December 19 that she has Covid-19. Ficklin is a militantly anti-mask, anti-vaccination Republican known for spreading the ideas masks are symbols of oppression and vaccines contain “nanotechnology.”

Anti-mask, anti-vaccination candidate for HD-55 Cindy Ficklin (R-Mesa County) announced December 19 on Facebook that she has contracted Covid-19 and is blaming it squarely on the U.S. government.

Ficklin announced she had the disease after emerging from a 30 day ban from Facebook. Facebook has banned Ficklin numerous times for spreading lies and conspiracy theories on her page. Ficklin has repeatedly asserted without proof that the SARS CoV2 virus was created in a laboratory to target obese, elderly and unfit people; she has spread lies about vaccine deaths and about public health physician Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease, profiting personally from the virus.

A look at where Mesa County is now with Covid, and how other places are doing by comparison

New York Times’ calendar of average Covid cases per capita in Mesa County dating from January, 2020 until now. We are clearly back where we were last Dec-January, when we were in the thick of the pandemic the first time and had full precautions in place. For months, the NY Times has rated Mesa county as “extremely high risk for unvaccinated people.”

Arguably, Mesa County citizens’ denial of the science around Covid-19 transmission, and the overall lax attitude of our area’s elected officials toward reining in the pandemic are worsening and prolonging the pandemic in our area, making more people sick, putting more people in the hospital and giving Mesa County a good chance of staying a perpetual pandemic state into the foreseeable future.

For comparison, here are how some other areas around the country are doing in managing the pandemic compared to Mesa County:

My Pillow Guy appears with Sherronna Bishop at Garfield County School District RE-2 Board Meeting

Mike Lindell appears alongside election conspiracy theorist/anti-mask activist/Tina Peters defender Sherronna Bishop at a Wednesday, Oct. 13 Garfield County RE-2 School Board meeting held via Zoom

In a bizarre scene, “My Pillow guy” Mike Lindell made a cameo appearance alongside Rifle election conspiracist and Tina Peters defender Sherronna Bishop at a Zoomed Garfield County School District RE-2 Board Meeting on October 13.

Bishop appears about three minutes into the meeting, speaking during the public comment period and accusing School Board members of abusing children by “forcing medical devices on them.” She condemns the Board for how her “kid had to wear a mask to his homecoming dance” and how the students were “interrupted” by an adult at the dance who reminded students how to correctly wear their masks. Bishop accused the school board of “assaulting and abusing” children by having them wear masks for protection at school amid the pandemic.

After a member of the school board warns Bishop she has 30 seconds left to speak, a man wearing a shirt and tie moves into the frame with Bishop. He then bends down to where viewers can see his face, and it was the clear the man is Mike Lindell. One of the school board members can be heard in the background saying “Jesse, turn it off!”

As Bishop ends her comments, Lindell starts weighing in with the District RE-2 School Board, saying “There’s more science than you guys even know of” about masking, and “[inaudible] suicide and addiction…”

The school board then cuts the couple off, and lets a student present know that it is her turn to speak.
Video of the meeting is below:

Daily Sentinel & Mesa County Public Health Department appear to take steps to shield CMU from criticism

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel and Mesa County Public Health Department appear to be shielding Colorado Mesa University from public criticism over its handling of the Coronavirus pandemic by minimizing and obscuring information about Covid outbreaks and how the school is handling cases.

Buried towards the end of an article in today’s Sentinel about Covid cases in area schools was a reference to a situation in which a CMU student who was sick with Covid-19 and quarantined in Piñon Hall failed to get any food delivered for two days. The paper referred to the situation as “one minor communications issue” and made it sound like the student was to blame, along with a single poster in the dorm.

CMU President John Marshall’s spin on the Israeli study matches TheGatewayPundit’s spin on the same study

The information CMU President John Marshall promoted in an email about an un-peer-reviewed Israeli study, and the key information that he left out, match that of the right wing conspiracy website TheGatewayPundit.com (Photo: Twitter @maverickprez)

On August 27, 2021, the conspiracy website TheGatewayPundit.com posted an article strongly promoting a “new study out of Israel” that touted natural immunity against Covid-19 over the immunity provided by vaccines. The Gateway Pundit article headline said people who have recovered from COVID-19 have more protection against the virus than people who’ve only been vaccinated. The study the website pointed to as the source of this information was the very same un-peer reviewed Israeli preprint on MedRxIv.org with a warning label that CMU President John Marshall pointed to as the basis for his August 30 “Campus Safety” email to staff promoting the protective value of natural immunity to Covid-19.

CMU to host another superspreader event on 8/27

As if holding one massive superspreader event to kick off Colorado Mesa University’s fall ’21 semester wasn’t enough of a public health threat to students and the community, in today’s Daily Sentinel, CMU is advertising another big event on August 27th to be held inside the Meyer Ballroom in the University Center that involves eating, dancing and drinking alcohol.

The ad does not mention any coronavirus precautions being used at the event, like proof of a negative Covid-19 test, proof of being fully vaccinated against Covid-19, or masks or physical distancing.

Mesa County residents freaked out by CMU’s semester-kickoff superspreader event

CMU’s held its freshman orientation semester kickoff event in an indoor gym without taking any coronavirus precautions, like masking or physical distancing.

 

No masks, no physical distancing, lots of open-mouths and yelling among the younger crowd, the age range currently being most infected with the more dangerous delta variant of Covid-19

Mesa County residents are horrified by photos Colorado Mesa University (CMU) gleefully posted on it’s Facebook page yesterday showing the school held a jam-packed, high-energy indoor semester-kickoff event without taking any coronavirus precautions.

Officials at Memorial Regional Hospital in Craig say Rep. Boebert is ignorant about health care policy and it’s costing lives

In the wake of House Rep. Lauren Boebert refusing to wear a mask on the House floor, calling Covid-19 vaccine administrators “needle Nazis” and likening public health efforts to control the pandemic to “communism,” Andrew Daniels, Chief Executive Officer of Memorial Regional Hospital in Craig, Colorado, told a national news outlet (video) that he is “embarrassed that Lauren Boebert is his House Representative.”

His hospital was recently forced to re-open its Covid ward due to a resurgence in Covid cases in Moffat County, now considered a coronavirus hotspot due to high rate of community transmission and a low vaccination rate, similar to Mesa County.

Covid hotspots are in red. (Source: CDC/CNN)

Daniels, who described himself as a “super conservative,” said of Boebert,

“I’m embarrassed that she’s my representative. I think if you’re going to take a stance on health care policy, you might actually want to learn something about healthcare policy.”

Dr. Matthew Grzegozewski, Memorial Regional Hospital’s Director of Emergency Medicine struck a similar note, about Boebert, saying

“A lot of people are listening [to what Boebert] is saying and a lot of what she’s putting out there is ideology and in fact isn’t medically sound, and it’s putting people in danger and quite honestly costing people their lives, and it’s frustrating to have to fight against that. 

Group petitions District 51 to use stronger Covid-19 protocols this fall

National news report on July 27 says current guidance is that all teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools should wear masks regardless of vaccination status, especially indoors in Covid hot spots. Mesa County is a Covidhot spot for the more contagious Delta variant.

Supporters for Open and Safe Schools (SOS), a group of Mesa County residents who are alarmed by the lax Covid-19 prevention protocols School District 51 put in place for this fall, is challenging the District’s “2021-22 Keeping Schools Open Plan” as insufficient to keep students and the surrounding community safe from COVID outbreaks and school closures amid a continuing pandemic.

District 51 announced its “Keeping Schools Open” plan on July 16, but the plan does not require students or staff to wear face coverings. Instead it makes masking optional, lets unvaccinated visitors onto schools grounds without wearing face coverings and only encourages, and does not require, staff and students over 12 years to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

15 year old Florida Covid patient who did not get the opportunity to get vaccinated

Currently children under 12 are not eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine, making them more susceptible to infection, especially with more transmissible Delta variant that spread rapidly in Mesa County after the County Commissioners ended all Covid protections in the county last spring. Currently only 43 percent of Mesa County adults over 12 years of age are fully vaccinated, far lower than the statewide average of 54 percent.

Mesa County has already had one pediatric COVID death.

Commissioners ask governor to end supplemental federal benefits for unemployed County residents

At their public hearing on Monday, July 12, 2021, the Republican Mesa County Commissioners voted to officially request Governor Jared Polis end the supplemental unemployment benefits that have been helping keep unemployed and low income County residents and their families afloat during the pandemic.

Why? Because they want to force people to go back to work to fill mostly low paying, often difficult and dangerous front line jobs, often where people are likely to be exposed to the virus and would risk exposing their families to it as well.

15.8% of Mesa County’s population lives below the federal poverty line, more than the poverty rate for the state as a whole, at 11.5%. The 2018 Federal Poverty Level for annual income is $16,147 for an individual and $33,383 for a family of four.

To be sure, the Mesa County Commissioners aren’t living on wages like that. They make around $90,000/year when perks like health insurance are included.

Mesa County’s pervasive right wing culture is damaging our public health and economy

No one wants to say it, but Mesa County’s far right wing culture is now hurting us all, physically and economically

Everybody is dancing around it, but no one wants to come right out and say it. It’s the single biggest threat to Mesa County’s population in the last hundred years, but everyone is scared to say it:

Mesa County’s dominant far right wing culture is now causing a resurgent spread of Covid-19, sending people to the hospital and endangering the children in our community who are too young to get vaccinated. Our area’s right wing culture, with its erroneous, misinformed beliefs, is causing the majority of Mesa County residents to refuse to get vaccinated against Covid-19. At the same time our elected officials have abandoned all other means of controlling the pandemic, like masking and physical distancing requirements.

We’ve heard over and over again that the Covid vaccine is now our only way out of the pandemic, but because most people in Mesa County are refusing to get vaccinated, we may never escape the pandemic.

State Senator Ray Scott refuses to wear mask in Village Inn, lectures waiter not to enforce rule, saying “WE make the laws”

State Senator Ray Scott, who has a track record of being rude to his constituents, getting sued by the ACLU for blocking constituents on social media and getting slapped with a formal ethics complaint, recently displayed his legendary hubris again after he refused to put on a face mask while inside a Village Inn restaurant in Grand Junction.

The story was reported by the Colorado Times Recorder on December 21.

According to the Times Recorder, the waiter approached Scott and told him that he would have to leave if he didn’t wear a mask inside the restaurant, Scott lectured the waiter by saying “Governors make rules, but WE make the law,” and explained the difference between a rule and a law. Scott then told the waiter he was being too “heavy handed” in enforcing the statewide masking rule.

The pitfalls of Mesa County’s “5 Star” Coronavirus protection program

Mesa County’s 5-Star program creates expectations that often aren’t met, and leaves it to patrons to police establishments for compliance, which can then lead to harassment, threats and intimidation against patrons who complain.

Mesa County has been touting it’s “Variance Protection” (“Five Star”) program as the key to keeping businesses open amid the pandemic, and while the goals of the program are laudable, the widespread lack of enforcement, particularly of masking requirements, can unfortunately create a climate of additional threats to patrons, and not just to their health.