Pollution Harms our Health

Dramatic clouds at sunset
Our health is affected by pollution from burning fossil fuels. Some of us are making a stand against the installation of a new gas and oil fueled electrical generator in Peabody MA, about a mile from where I live. There has been no comprehensive public health or environmental assessment of this project which threatens the health of elderly, children, and all those with health conditions such as asthma, COPD, and heart disease. The threat to public health, the environment, and the climate is echoed everywhere.

We and Our Leaders Can Control COVID

Buds on branches of red maple against blue sky
Excitement is in the air. It is spring, people are being vaccinated, and we all anticipate a speedy end to the crisis. But wait, there’s more. It will be weeks before everyone who is willing is vaccinated, and there are variants which the vaccine may not protect us from. We all need to continue taking every precaution for weeks to come. Together, we can survive the pandemic, and the governor should reconsider his policies on reopening and enforcement. Caution is most important for elderly people, including those living in public or subsidized housing, because we are the most vulnerable to the severe outcomes of COVID. “For the two week period prior to April 14, 2021, the average age of Massachusetts residents who have died from COVID-19 was 74 years old.”

Doom or hope?

If we act to prevent the surge which has already begun, there is hope. If we deny the real danger, we will be doomed. COVID doesn't despair or hope, it mutates, multiplies, and has the advantage. To survive, we should use the vaccine in a strategic way, reduce indoor gatherings, and enforce mandated masking.

Governor Baker, Here's How to Mitigate & Prevent COVID in Housing

Governor Baker and Jerry Halberstadt join against hatred of Americans of Asian descent in Peabody Square on March 27
I was proud to stand with you—and many friends, neighbors, and elected officials—against hatred of Americans of Asian descent in Peabody Square on March 27. At your invitation, I am writing to share ideas for mitigation and prevention of COVID-19 in housing for elderly and disabled persons

Vaccine Day At Peabody Fairweather

Glen Jalbert, Fairweather resident, and Caroline Cubbison, resident physician at North Shore Medical, give a thumbs up after Glen is vaccinated. Sharon Cameron, Director of the Peabody Health Department, looks on.
Today, on March 26, 2021, at Fairweather apartments in Peabody, a team of nurses and doctors administered a COVID vaccine to 29 people, out of a population of 80 current tenants. Some, like Glen Jalbert, and several others, had already recovered from COVID. Many of those receiving the vaccine are frail, and might not have been able to travel outside the building to a central vaccine clinic. PHOTO: Glen Jalbert, Fairweather resident, and Caroline Cubbison, resident physician at North Shore Medical, give a thumbs up after Glen is vaccinated. Sharon Cameron, Director of the Peabody Health Department, looks on.

Adventures With COVID-19 & Vaccination

Photo: Bonny Zeh's story begins with her shopping for supplies to make origami like her folded paper dog.
After I had COVID I was vaccinated. COVID-19 is no joke, and I only had a mild to moderate case of COVID. I had side effects from the vaccine—they aren’t that bad—COVID is worse, and I know the difference from personal experience. Photo: Bonny Zeh's story begins with her shopping for supplies to make origami like her folded paper dog.

Are We Safe Now?

One unmasked tenant sitting with others in an entrance lobby said,

“Oh, isn't it great that the pandemic is almost over, that’s why we can hang out without masks.”

This conversation took place in the lobby of an apartment building of 112 units in Salem public housing for the elderly and disabled, where at least 9 tenants have current or recent cases of COVID, including one recent COVID death—a rate of 8% infections.

Legislation to Protect Tenants from COVID

Update on our legislative advocacy

Our legislative partners, including Representative Tom Walsh and Senator Joan Lovely, have determined that the first step is to bring our concerns to the newly formed Joint Standing Committee on COVID-19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management. That body will be tasked with oversight of the state’s pandemic response and take on an advisory role for the Legislature. It will also weigh broader issues of disaster preparedness, emergency management and communication.

For a Safe Community, We Need Laws

 

The goal of all our efforts is not to create a utopian community where everyone loves each other and there is no strife. No, it is make it possible for people to live together despite their differences and to create a social environment that is, at least, not toxic and harmful.

This is possible through a common understanding of the limits of behavior and having a way for people to resolve differences without resorting to aggression---physical, emotional, bullying, or mobbing.