During its meeting Tuesday evening, the Macon County Board of Health reversed a decision made during a December meeting to change the daily COVID-19 data reports to weekly.
Good for the board in deciding the earlier decision was not a wise one! It was felt at the time the earlier decision was made that the public was tired of hearing and reading the daily reports and ignoring them. Board member Jeff Entler said the December vote was ill-timed even though the board’s intentions were good.
Tuesday night, written public comments from residents expressing concerns about the change, which called the board’s action irresponsible in limiting the amount of public information, were read to the board.
It was good to see a board further consider a decision that so many in the community thought was a bad one, including this editor, reconsider and reverse its vote — especially in light of surging COVID-19 cases in our community.
• The Macon County Board of Health was one of the subjects in this column last week because of the decision it made last month to not issue daily COVID-19 information. The board meets the third Tuesday of every month at 5:30 PM in the Macon County Health Department WIC Conference Room. If you don’t want to bother checking which dates the meeting will be held, they are January 18, February 15, March 15, April 19, May 17, June 21, July 19, August 16, September 20, October 18, November 15, and December 20.
• FAKE NEWS? After being editor and publisher of this newspaper for well over a half century and receiving thousands of letters (and emails in recent years) I’ll have to admit that some comments I’ve received since the pandemic began defy logic and are beyond belief. After last week’s “City Beat’ column which reprinted the COVID-19 statistics for the week for our county that were released by the Macon County Health Department to all members of the media, following is one person’s comment we received: “Paul Osborne is not a medical expert and states 13 ppl with covid are hospitalized. He does not say these folks are hospitalized because of covid. he either does not know or is purposely inflating covid numbers. Paul Osborne is fake news.”
It might be helpful if this person (who used a fake name, of course) would actually read what was written. Here is the exact wording from the MCHD in last week’s column regarding Macon County statistics:
• Newly-confirmed COVID-19 cases for January 3-9, 2022: 2,310 cases.
• Hospitalizations on January 10, 2021: 49 Macon County residents — Vaccinated: 12 Unvaccinated: 37.
• COVID-19 related deaths since the start of the pandemic: 279 Macon County residents.
• Within the past week, 13 Macon County residents with COVID-19 passed away.
I usually don’t bother to print comments from anonymous readers but I thought I would share this comment because such reactions based on misinformation and an absence of facts are much more common these days than I ever would have imagined a few years ago. No, I am not a doctor and don’t claim to be one. I’m a journalist who is very much aware that the only vaccine that will work against misinformation and misinterpretation is the truth. Unfortunately, we live at a time when the truth is rejected by those who are infected with an inability to handle facts and are deluded into thinking that a lie is the truth. They believe that anyone who doesn’t agree with them is misinformed and is part of a “conspiracy” to hide the truth — even when proven facts are presented to them. … God help us!
•. My “Scrapbook” feature on pages 4 and 5 of the print and online editions takes another look at the internationally-known singer June Christy who attended local schools. Shirley Luster (June Christy) was a student at Roosevelt Junior High School on West Grand about a decade and a half before I attended there and, from what I heard, she was looked upon as a very talented singer even at that young age. She graduated from Decatur High School in 1943 and only two years later she was famous as a singer in the Big Band Era and had a huge hit song. Her story reminds me of several residents of Decatur who went on to national and international fame as entertainers. I’ve featured several of those entertainers and their connections to Decatur in “Scrapbook” features over the years.
• State Rep. Sue Scherer (D-Decatur) has announced that she is running for re-election in the 96th District. She has been in office since 2013 and her district includes portions of Macon, Sangamon and Christian Counties. Her comments on why she is running for re-election can be found on page 6. I’ve always enjoyed talking with Sue over the years since she was first elected. COVID-19 has delayed a lot of one-on-one, face-to-face conversations with Sue and other elected officials the past two years. Hopefully, that will change in the near future.
• I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00 to discuss the issues impacting our city. I always enjoy talking with Brian.