Chautauqua County Physician Expresses Frustration With COVID Politicization

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MAYVILLE – A Chautauqua County physician is expressing his frustration with the politicization of COVID-19; saying unless we get over our vaccine hesitancy the pandemic will never end.

In a video Monday Dr. Robert Berke, local physician and a member of Chautauqua County’s COVID-19 task force, compared the fight against the virus to a war. A war he says we are currently losing.

“We’re losing a battle, we’re losing lives every day, for no reason except that we can’t get together and understand it’s war,” explained Dr. Berke.

Dr. Berke also believes that the topic has become highly politicized.

“People have just gotten this all wrong, and I think that’s the most frustrating part about it,” stated Dr. Berke.” This is not political, this is not infringement of personal rights.”

The only way out of this, he says, is unification and personal responsibility. A point that Dr. Berke is urgently trying to make.

“This is one hundred percent personal responsibility. I’m responsible for you, you’re responsible for me. I’m responsible for your family, my family, and everybody else out there,” explained Berke. “And this is nothing about your right to do whatever you want, it’s about the public’s responsibility towards each other.”

Similar to County Executive PJ Wendel, Dr. Berke says this is not about one’s belief or looks , but it is everyone’s responsibility to stop the pandemic

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re red, white, blue, independent, that’s irrelevant,” stated  Dr. Berke. “The issue for us is that we have to look out for each other.”

This fall, the county legislature approved motions calling on state and federal leaders to support constitutional rights and asked for alternatives to COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

The action followed several protests against the state vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. 


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