Gwendolyn Grant, Urban League, plus a comment on Omicron

This episode of Radio Active Magazine features an interview with Gwendolyn Grant, President and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, followed by a brief comment on Omicron and COVID more generally.

The interview with Ms. Grant was conducted by Anne Calvert and Rachel Thompson of the League of Women Voters of Kansas City, Jackson, Clay, and Platte Counties, Missouri, as part of their November 2021 “Talk-Talk-Vote” podcast.1

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is spreading so rapidly that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has encouraged people to limit or delay their in-person holiday gatherings.  By some accounts Omicron could be so virulent that today’s vaccines may not be good enough to control it:2  People inoculated with a vaccine that is 90 percent effective can still catch the disease, but they  require on average 10 times the exposure.

Radio Active Magazine regular and researcher Spencer Graves offers the following opinion on Omicron and COVID:  Anti-maskers are like Typhoid Mary: Killing others while refusing to believe they’re spreading disease.  The Republican Policy Committee of the US Senate in 2020, May, noted that President George Washington left the capital during a Yellow Fever epidemic in the 1790s.  State and local governments have the authority to order quarantines, vaccinations, and other measures that governmental leaders believe are necessary to control an epidemic.

Some experts have suggested using eminent domain to purchase patent and other intellectual property rights to vaccines, tests, masks and other effective measures to limit the spread of disease, and make them available at no cost or at a minimal charge to the entirety of humanity. Doing so would cost billions and save trillions.

Media executives and personalities with companies like Facebook and Fox are making money from polarizing this issue, and they are killing people in the process.  Charles Koch and others like him would rather see people die than suffer the disruptions imposed on their businesses by measures taken to control the pandemic, according to “How The Koch Network Hijacked The War On Covid” by Walker Bragman and Alex Kotch of the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), 2021-12-22.  “Koch Group Canvasses for Schmitt in Crowded GOP Primary for Open Missouri Senate Seat“, according to a 2021-12-16 article by Don Wiener, also of CMD.

Nobody has a free speech right to drive drunk nor recklessly nor to ignore masking mandates.  At least a third of people with COVID have no symptoms:  Unless they wear effective masks, limit their contact with others, or get tested regularly, they will unknowingly give the disease to others, some of whom will give the disease to yet others, some of whom will die.  Others may develop new variants of COVID that could be worse than Delta and Omicron.

Everyone has a civic responsibility to get vaccinated unless they have a health issue that indicates otherwise and to wear masks in public settings.


  1. This interview was roughly the last half of the Talk-Talk-Vote podcast on “Policing in Kansas City”.
  2. Spencer Graves has so far been unable to find an authoritative estimate of the “basic reproduction number”, R0, for Omicron.  One source claimed it was 15, meaning that in a naive population, unvaccinated and taking no precautions, each person with COVID infects on average 15 others.  Another source said it was between 3 and 5.  The speed with which Omicron is spreading raises questions about the lower estimates.  See also Wikiversity, “Externalities, contagious diseases and news“.

Share This Episode