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"As U.S. West Braces for Omicron Surge, Leaders Take a Hands-off Approach"

The Guardian referenced pandemic-related research by the California Health Interview Survey team, led by Dr. Ninez Ponce

Friday, December 24, 2021

As the highly transmissible Omicron variant began to surge across Colorado this month, Governor Jared Polis adopted a laissez-faire tone. Asked in a radio interview about the possibility of reinstating a statewide mask mandate, he replied that, with Covid vaccines now widely available, getting sick was the “own darn fault” of the unvaccinated.

But health workers at hospitals in parts of Colorado that have been overwhelmed by coronavirus patients in recent weeks say they’re bracing for even worse.

“We are encountering what almost feels like a war zone these days,” said Stephanie Chrisley, an intensive care nurse at Longmont United hospital, about 50 miles north of Denver. She says she is sometimes tasked with caring for twice the number of patients she’d normally be responsible for. The job, she said, has become “morally distressing.”