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Schools reopen amid a pocket of protests against Covid policies

Protesters stage a rally in Tamuning Sept. 25, 2021 to protest the government's vaccine policy.

By Phillip Cruz, Jr.

Schools are reopening and students going back to face-to-face learning today despite the Covid-19 surge.

“We know many of our students have been waiting to return to in-person instruction,” Education Superintendent Jon Fernandez said earlier. “At the same time, we are keeping our eye on the Covid-19 case numbers on island. Returning to campus in cohorts is our way of saying that we believe the right approach during our current high-risk situation is to temporarily reduce the number of students who can come to campus daily."

The Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) on Sunday night reported a preliminary case count of 95 new cases of Covid-19 from 529 specimens analyzed on Sept. 25. Additional results are pending analysis and submission from other clinics and will be reported today.

To date, there have been a total of 14,374 officially reported cases, 184 deaths, 3,185 cases in active isolation, and 11,005 not in active isolation. As of September 24, the CAR Score is 25.7.

Guam residents, however, are divided over the government's policy as they process information. Some questioned the government-released information.

Dozens of protesters staged a rally at the ITC intersection in Tamuning raising opposition to the government's vaccine mandate.

"The numbers of the Covid infections are a bunch of lies. Our political leaders want to improve their narrative. People are not sticking to scientific numbers, and it’s nothing but a bunch of political propaganda. We need more people to speak up, especially doctors, they seem scared and if they don’t follow the FDA recommendation, they’ll probably lose their jobs," said Thomas Cruz, a parent.

"Why do you need a vaccination when you have your own immune system? World renown scientists have been speaking out against the vaccines, such Dr. Robert Malone, inventor of the Moderna vaccine," Cruz added.

Some residents are confident vaccines work.

"You can’t simply look at the number of hospitalizations. There are 116,000 people fully vaccinated and 51,000 that aren’t," said Nadia Holm, an environmental scientist and a resident of Tamuning. "If unvaccinated people were being hospitalized at the same rate as vaccinated people, there would be over 150 people hospitalized. That proves to me that the vaccine is beneficial."

She believes people can manage risk by practicing basic safety measures such as social distancing, wearing a mask, limiting contact with people and taking serious precautions when using public facilities.

"I don’t really care why certain people don’t want to be vaccinated- it’s their businesses," Holm said. "But I think they need to make sure they’re not infected and don’t want up needed medical treatment or hospitalization because we can’t handle that now."

A resident who requested to be identified only as Angela said the raising numbers are of great concern.

"We are at 86 percent vaccination on the island. We don’t know the true numbers, like how many are in the hospital, the number of youths who were infected, or who is really spreading it between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. These numbers are not making any senses. How and why are these numbers are increasing?" she asked.

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