Mannie Jackson

According to The NY Times and other sources, COVID statistics have surged to over 100,000 hospitalizations. The USA has 13 million people plus infected with the virus and is closing in on nearly 300,000 deaths of men, women and children! The COVID-19 virus is absolutely no hoax; it is deadly. Those who even suggest otherwise should not be respected nor listened to. Respected scientist and researcher, Allison Galvani of Yale University, opined that a threshold rate of 30% vaccine effectiveness would reduce transmission and deaths by 70%. These numbers have a compelling impact on national healthcare cost and more importantly projected death rates.

My female friend who resides in Florida is an MIT graduate and former professional volleyball star. She wrote recently checking on my well-being and closed her email saying "I don't trust the (vaccine) process with the current administration being a part of it. Therefore, I have decided to wait at least for now, and remain self-quarantined.” No doubt that's her right, and everyone is allowed to make their own decision. Many others may not be able to afford the time, others may not have access to the vaccine for various reasons. But, let me share some advice - the pandemic and the virus it carries is blind to political games, ignorance, and one’s preferred timing. It's a threat to our loved ones, our neighbors and all humankind. If you must gamble, gamble on the side of the "greater good" of stopping this ravishing intruder. This is not a game of basketball, poker, or one person’s bet against the odds. When I was a teenage kid living in Edwardsville, I was obsessed with the notion of jumping off the Veterans bridge. As brave as I think I am today, I’m not willing to risk my life, the life of my neighbors, friends and complete strangers. Therefore, I will be personally getting in line for the vaccination as soon as it is available. For me this is the winning way.

Systemic issues in health care and public health always affect the most vulnerable in our communities, with this article I am formally notifying our trustworthy Mayor Hal Patton, asking he and local community leaders Mark Goldenberg and Herman Shaw manage a trust I will be setting up for residences of Edwardsville relative to getting the vaccine. The “winning way” will include a working strategy to help all understand how the vaccine works best when the vaccine pool reaches a critical mass of citizens. Attorney Mark Goldenberg will assist me with implementation details.

The winning way is based on the assumption that we work together for solutions and we focus on the greater good for our wonderful community. If not, we can bicker and place blame as friends and loved ones go down needlessly. No sports team would survive to win championships without a common mission. Negative and inappropriate behavior is the Achilles heel of greatness.

Immunization remains one of the most successful and cost-effective health initiatives in the battle against the virus pandemics; this is not humankind’s first viral pandemic disease and it will likely not be the last. Please join the Winning Way to protect our Community. Spread the word and believe as I do this emergency will be over soon.

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Mannie Jackson is from Edwardsville, Illinois. A graduate of the University of Illinois, he was selected National Science Fellow and received an Executive Master’s Degree from the University of Detroit. He was twice selected into Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall-of-Fame 2002-2017. He Selected Illinois High School “Prep Player of the Year.” A two-time All-Big Ten, former captain of the University of Illinois basketball team, his jersey was retired. For 25 years he was an Executive VP of Honeywell and Worldwide Corporate Officer. He is also co-founder and chairman of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC) and Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities (MJCHF). Mannie is a former player/owner of the Harlem Globetrotters. 

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