A year’s worth of pandemic has changed all of our lives in one way or another. Each day we’ve had to wade through a mountain of information, filtering it the best we could so we could decide what we should do that day to protect ourselves from the virus. There have been many advisements, directives, guides, even mandates, but in the end, each of us had to decide for ourselves what the true risks were and how much risk we were willing to take. It was so difficult to ascertain what the true risks were. I remember in the beginning that masks were deemed not too important and wiping off your Amazon delivery boxes was. It’s evident now that wearing a mask is far more important than sterilizing surfaces. Many were wary of even the CDC’s advisements, fearing they might be politically motivated. We had conflicting information on vaccine development, some thought scientists were cutting corners and vaccine hesitancy was high, some, including me, trusted the process and the FDA. It was a confusing time.
So, here we are, a year into the pandemic and things are certainly not back to normal or even the “new” normal. What do we know, when is normal coming and what risks remain?
Here’s what we know:
- The fact remains that a vaccinated person will not go to the hospital and, more importantly, will not die from COVID-19. That has been proven in the tests and in the real world.
- So far, the virus has killed 531,855 people in the United States. I remember when there were dire predictions of 200,000 deaths. Who would have thought we would have over double that number and still counting?
- The numbers have dropped precipitously since the highs in the first part of January, but the drop has moderated in the last few weeks.
- Vaccinations have accelerated, going from a goal of 1 million per day to almost 3 million a day.
- President Biden set a goal of everyone over 16 having the chance to get vaccinated by May 1st. Many states will begin vaccinating everyone over 16 in the next few weeks. It seems the May 1st goal will be easily met.
When is normal coming?
- Some have predicted that this July 4th holiday will be much more “normal” than the last July 4th.
- Some states have begun talking about loosening mask wearing mandates.
- My prediction is that by June 1st we’ll feel safe to meet and greet without masks (remember, I’m not an expert, I didn’t even spend a night in a Holiday Inn, it’s just my personal prediction.)
There’s the facts and some predictions. The big question now is,
What risks remain?
There are two reasons that would delay our return to normal – people choosing not to get vaccinated and one of the variants being resistant to one or more of the vaccines.
The biggest threat is people choosing not to get vaccinated. This problem slows down our progress toward herd immunity (the state where enough people have developed immunity through either contracting the virus or having been vaccinated so that the virus doesn’t have enough new people to infect to spread.) The quicker we reach this state the less time the virus has to mutate and develop a resistant variant. It is critical that people understand that refusing to get vaccinated not only threatens their well-being, but also threatens the well being of all of us (the herd). There are studies and polls that indicate that politics has played some part in this vaccine resistance. Getting vaccinated should not be a political decision; it should be like obeying traffic laws – something we do so we all can be safe. Scientists are already working toward ways to combat virus variants, but it won’t do any good if people choose not to not vaccinated.
I am a big fan of choice, but the consequences of that choice should be borne by the chooser. Choosing not to get vaccinated affects the health of all of us. People are still dying everyday; they should not continue to die as a consequence of our choice. We all need to study the facts and make the choice to speed up America’s march toward normalcy by getting vaccinated.
Some final notes. Seniors Speak Out is conducting a poll. We want to know how the pandemic has affected you and how you feel our government and healthcare providers have performed. We’d love for you to take the poll. Click here to give us your valuable opinions. Also, we will be holding a virtual Town Hall on April 14th from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET to discuss the results of the poll. You can register for that town hall here.
Spring always promises a rebirth, I hope this spring includes a chance to once again be physically close to those we love.