An Alaskan Lack of Imagination

An Alaskan Lack of Imagination

Back in August when I posted about the potential for catching COVID in Alaska, I never thought the situation would get dire. Clearly, I lack imagination. Seven days ago–just about the time Mr. Pretty and I were about to leave for Alaska–the state’s hospitals adopted crisis standards because unvaccinated patients are flooding the hospitals at alarming rates, necessitating care rationing. Somehow Alaska went from a state that had been doing amazingly at controlling COVID and getting folks vaccinated to a hot mess of unvaxxed whackadoodles (88% of hospitalizations are unvaxxed) putting everyone at risk. The main difference, I guess, is the election. At least in Anchorage, it meant going from a mayor willing to sacrifice for the greater good to a mayor who won’t even entertain a mask mandate. Yesterday, a day after we returned home, Anchorage’s public health manager quit in protest over the pandemic handling. Yiiiiiiiiikes.

Mr. Pretty and I have yet to do a post-vacay COVID test (that comes tomorrow), but we noticed very, very different standards of COVID mitigation in Alaska than what we’re used to–and this is not to say that measures are perfect here in Pennsylvania, just that the area in which we live is filled with very active mask-wearers. In Alaska we were in Homer, Girdwood, and Anchorage, and perhaps 25 percent of people we saw/ran into were masked. A little over 55 percent of Alaskans have been fully vaccinated, although I know in Homer the percentage is higher than the average. It’s pretty clear why hospitals are so inundated in Alaska.

The good thing is that it’s easy to avoid other people in post-tourist season Alaska, especially if you don’t mind eating outside in the cold. Still, the whole thing was a little disconcerting–and so we won’t be traveling anywhere with a low vax rate and high hospital overrun rate for quite some time. Lesson learned.


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