'Why don't you lead by example?' One year after COVID nearly killed him, Baton Rouge judge urges vaccination
BATON ROUGE - This summer, District Judge Chip Moore has been able to go on beach trips with his family and spend time with grandchildren, things that were nearly taken away from him last summer.
"I had been on a ventilator since July 3," Moore said. "So no one believed that I was going to come out of it. So, yes, everything I do now, it doesn't have to be going on a beach, it could be coming to work, it's a gift from God that I'm here."
After a two-month hospital stay, Moore went home last September. When it comes to walking and use some of his fingers, he's still improving. But since his discharge, he's advocated for mask-wearing, even requiring face coverings in his office. Now, more than a year since his diagnosis, Louisiana's low vaccination rate has left him distraught."
"I really thought that people, when the vaccine became available, that people would be smart and would take it, understanding that they were basically leaving, getting rid of that risk of death," Moore said. But now, no. We've got a cure for it, or a real good chance of survival, but we ignore it. We think of 500 reasons why you shouldn't get it, and just watch people die in a hospital. It's very disappointing."
It isn't just his personal experience that has led Moore to make this plea. Days before Christmas, the virus took his dad, as the first approved vaccine was starting to be administered to healthcare workers.
"I wish to goodness it would have been out for my daddy, to where he could have gotten the vaccine and be with me today," Moore said. "He'd still be here. He was in great shape until COVID hit him."
As soon as he became eligible, Moore and his wife, Sheryl, got their first shots in February. Since then, he's tried to use his story to persuade those who are hesitant to avoid the same fate."
"You know when I was a judge on the criminal court, I saw, way too frequently, people had just no value of life," Moore said. "And that's kind of what I'm seeing here with this. People don't have any value to their life. They don't get the big picture."
As Louisiana reported its most COVID-19 hospitalizations to date Tuesday, Moore said the current numbers don't lie. From his bench in Courtroom 9D, where he usually gives rulings and verdicts, he's giving advice to anyone who remains unprotected.
"If you love your kids, if you love your wife; your significant other, you love your mom and dad, why don't you want to be around for them, and take care of them," Moore asked. Why don't you lead by example? Who wants to wind up in a hospital?"
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