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Letters focus on pandemic response, tired healthcare workers and bacon in hospitals.

Don't forget what the 'pan' in 'pandemic' means

We all want the coronavirus pandemic to be over, but do we know the most effective, fastest way to do that? We have to increase global access to safe and effective vaccines.

Research from Northeastern University shows that vaccine hoarding by wealthy nations and inequitable vaccine distribution could lead to twice as many COVID-19 deaths, worldwide. That's why it's so important that Sen. Ron Wyden, Sen. Jeff Merkley and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici support global efforts to distribute vaccines and invest at least $20 billion in fighting COVID-19 globally, including funding for proven health programs like the Global Fund and CEPI.

Regardless of whether you live in Beaverton or Botswana, we're all in this fight together. In order to end this pandemic, the U.S. must help ensure that first responders and at-risk populations have priority access to vaccines, regardless of where they live.

Promoting global access to COVID-19 vaccines isn't just the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do. If we don't fight the virus everywhere, variants will continue to evolve and spread around the world. It's the only way to end this pandemic as quickly as possible, here in the United States and around the world.

As Congress considers the next COVID-19 emergency relief bill, I encourage Sen. Wyden, Sen. Merkley and Congresswoman Bonamici to support at least $20 billion in global COVID-19 resources that are essential to reopening the global economy and ending this pandemic everywhere.

Michael Kalkofen, Beaverton

Nurse burnout a problem in age of COVID-19

Even local heroes sometimes need a break. That's what many hospitals and clinics around the country are learning in the age of COVID-19. The added rules to follow from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and respective hospital policies, in addition to the anxiety as a frontline employee, are taking their toll on the estimated 2.86 million nurses around the United States.

According to a 2018 study published in the Psychology, Health, and Medicine Journal, nurses are the top profession for burnout due to feelings of a lack of control and unreachable goals. This was true before COVID-19. So what happens to nurses who have been working diligently to care for their patients during the age of COVID-19 for over a year? Feelings of burnout are intensified — dramatically.

Regulations and best practices for COVID-19 have changed a few times over the past year as data was made available. Nurses had to be ready to adapt to changes quickly and educate patients on safety guidelines. Nurses must also wear appropriate PPE, sometimes making breathing demanding or communication difficult. There is also the constant fear of catching COVID-19 at the front lines, potentially spreading it to loved ones, and being temporarily sent home for the quarantine period.

So what can be done to help nurses survive the stress and pressure of COVID-19? Thank them. Not just for helping, but for choosing to be there during uncertain times and continuing to provide care for their patients. Ask them how they're doing.

Managers of nursing teams can offer additional rewards for outstanding work and acknowledge their team for getting through the last year.

COVID-19 did not make 2020 easy for anyone, but nurses were the ones at the front lines to make sure the rest of the people could stay healthy through it all.

Terrence Hunt, RN-BSN, Wilsonville

Banning bacon won't heal the sick

If you thought hospital food was bland now, get ready to hear this. The Oregon Legislature is considering a bill that bans hospitals from serving bacon and every other salted, smoked, or cured meat.

Because House Bill 2348 also requires hospitals to make plant-based food available, proponents argue that this is simply about promoting good health. But who's to say that a room full of legislators knows more than a hospital full of doctors? [Ed.: HB 2348 is co-sponsored by Rep. Maxine Dexter, who represents Bethany and Northwest Portland and is a critical care doctor.]

Being stuck in a hospital bed is bad enough. Patients need to eat to keep up their strength. And comfort food is one secret that gets people eating and happy to be alive. So if the bedridden want bacon, give them bacon.

Politicians are ready to trade your range of choices for their own agendas, especially if they don't have to eat the results. So let's save the health food kick for home. If the "bacon ban" passes, buying comfort food from a hospital will only be harder for those that could really use some comfort.

Vlad Yurlov

Policy Analyst, Cascade Policy Institute


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