A vaccine! The beginning of the end of Covid. Thank God. But it’s only the very beginning and we have a long, treacherous road to the end. Thankfully, there’s a map.
This is really all I want – ever. I’ll trade all current and future Christmas and birthday gifts for this one thing.
That long-awaited (has this only been 9 months?) life-saving vaccine is on the way.
V Day – A Vaccine Arrives!
On December 5th, the first Covid19 vaccine was administered to a 90 year old grandma in the UK. On Friday, the FDA approved emergency use in the US, and today (December 13th) the first trucks departed the Pfizer plant in Portage, Michigan, under guard, carrying that life-saving elixir.
I surely hope this vaccine works as anticipated, and:
- We can produce enough vaccines AND get them into people, not just here in the US but worldwide.
- We can get enough vaccines into enough arms to stop the burn of Covid through the population.
- The immunity lasts long enough for everyone to get the first doses before it begins to wear off the earliest people to get the vaccine. Otherwise, the infections won’t stop. (Yes, you can get Covid twice.)
And the most important one:
- PEOPLE STILL NEED TO TAKE PRECAUTIONS TO PREVENT COVID. Just because the vaccine is now approved for emergency use does NOT mean that we can lessen our guard. Full stop.
If you’d like to read a great article about how the Covid vaccines were developed, including about mRNA, messenger mRNA, click here.
One hospital has produced a great FAQ about Covid vaccines, who will receive them in what priority order, and their development, here.
Dr. Fauci’s Message About Immunity
Dr Fauci says that herd immunity is possible by fall, and “normality” by the end of 2121, here.
Yes, that’s longer than I had hoped, BUT, this IS hope and we can survive this. It’s not forever and we are not condemned to Covid.
While I’m thrilled about the speed with which the vaccine was developed and is beginning to ship – I’m also very concerned that some people will let their guard down – on top of the people who are already not taking precautions to protect themselves and others.
As Dr. Fauci says, vaccines are NOT a substitution for public health measures – they are a compliment to those measures until we reach herd immunity – hopefully with a minimum of new infections and deaths.
Please Don’t Let Your Guard Down
In the US, by the time this article is published, we’ll have hit 300,000 deaths and will be well over 3,000 new deaths per day.
The daily new confirmed infections are going straight up, vertically, in the US, which means the deaths will follow. New milestones are being toppled daily.
I’m sure you haven’t missed the news that the US is continuing to set infection milestones, hospitalization milestones, and death milestones.
With the toll of Thanksgiving travel not yet behind us and the specter of holiday gatherings in front of us, December, January, and probably into February promise to be the darkest, most deadly days we have ever had to deal with in our lifetimes. I can’t help but think of my ancestors who lived during the plague, the Black Death that wiped out between one-third and half of the European population.
The CDC, here, predicts that the US will report between 332K and 362K deaths by January 1st, but truthfully, I fear that might be low, in part because this prediction data is from December 9th and we’re already at 300,000 just a few days later.
The good news is that we, personally, do not have to become victims. Unlike victims of the Black Death, today, we do understand how to protect ourselves even though we may have pandemic-fatigue. Fatigue is far better than death.
The great news is that because of the vaccine, sheltering safely in place is NOT endless now, nor is catching Covid just a matter of time, nor is it inevitable as long as we take proper precautions.
Safety and outsmarting this virus means protecting ourselves (and others) until we can get vaccinated, then waiting for the vaccine to become effective. The CDC offers holiday guidelines here.
If someone in your home contracts Covid, here’s a checklist and how to minimize the risk of caregivers and other family members becoming ill too.
We Must Protect Ourselves
We MUST protect ourselves by staying away from other people outside our home and masking when we can’t in order to emerge on the other side of this ordeal, whole, alive, and not being one of the 10% or so of people infected with Covid who become long-haulers, unable to recover.
Long-haulers aren’t “just tired” – many have significant lung damage and some have irreversible heart damage that is probably life-long. Not just “old people” either – many are younger and were otherwise previously perfectly healthy. And yes, I know some personally. You probably do too, and almost everyone knows someone or has a family member who has died of Covid now.
However, we CAN stop Covid in its tracks!
Yes – I know the holidays are going to be disappointing without family gatherings – but think of it this way…isolating now means no one will die because of a well-intentioned but ill-advised gathering, allowing us to celebrate in 2021 – with everyone present.
Physical distance does not equal to “apart” or disconnected. Here’s a heart-warming article about how Philippino families, scattered across the globe, address the challenge of gathering remotely.
If you’re wondering how perfectly intelligent people can take themselves down the path of longing to see relatives, miscalculating the Covid risk followed by making risky and deadly decisions, I found this article to be very enlightening. And yes, I see myself here with the temptation and you’ll probably be able to relate, too. I want desperately to see my kids and grandkids, but I know better. Logic and emotion are having the battle-of-the-ages in my head. It’s actually a relief to understand that other people are dealing with exactly the same emotions.
However, I have a terrible example to learn from.
My extended family is now dealing with the results of this very situation following an “immediate-family-only gathering.” One not-old, previously-healthy person is dead, the family is devastated, and ripped in half. The solitary person who refused to wear a mask and infected everyone else is unapologetic. Part of the rest of the family is supporting them but many are blaming them for the death of the family member – and a couple of people (but not the bare-faced person who had Covid and didn’t know it yet) are blaming themselves and suffering excruciating, debilitating guilt. Plus, the person who died did so in agony. While their agony is over, it has only begun for those left behind.
Let’s face it, had the gathering not occurred at all, none of this would be happening – and for the record – you can’t eat/drink with masks on no matter what. How many family gatherings have you been to where no one ate or drank anything? Yea, me neither. And now this family heads into the miserable holidays – probably the first of many. It’s doubtful that this family will ever gather again and they will certainly never be whole.
Please don’t let this be your story too.
I’m not seeing my family and friends now so that I can see them in the future.
1 in 20 People Has Tested Positive – Covid’s Everyplace Now
Covid is so prevalent now that it’s literally every place you’re going to go. One of every 20 people has tested positive in the US since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins data – and it’s getting worse every day.
Not only that, but many people don’t get tested, so the percentage and numbers, both, are actually significantly higher. Think of it this way. If there are 100 people living on your street (4 to a house- 25 houses), chances are 5 of them have tested positive. Their families are exposed and many of them are going to test positive too – or be silent asymptomatic spreaders. They are going to the grocery store, holiday shopping, to restaurants, etc., before they realize they are positive. Assuming they ever know they are positive.
You’re going to those same places in your community – just to pick up a couple of things from the grocery store. How dangerous can that be? You’ve done it lots of times and been fine, right?
Covid is in the air you will be breathing and on the surfaces you’re touching. You’re playing Russian roulette with a virus and given enough opportunities, the virus will infect you and win.
The only escape now is to stay home until the vaccine has the opportunity to work, not just on you, but on the rest of our herd too.
The Vaccine is not the Door in the Escape Room – Yet
Let’s not allow our joyful relief at the vaccine which marks the beginning of the end cause us to let our collective guard down.
We are so close now. We just have to wait to get vaccinated and get through the next few months to come out the other side safely. Those months will be painful, inside that dark and dangerous tunnel, but now we know there’s a path to emerge and there’s a map to get there.
Let’s protect ourselves and each other so that EVERYONE emerges, safe and sound.
We aren’t out of the woods quite yet – but there IS a path, it’s illuminated and that light is not a train! It’s an exit.
Let’s all cooperate so that at the end of this pandemic, that day we can rip those pesky masks off our faces forever, we’re all here to cross the finish line together.
Celebrate (at home) today with wild abandon, but don’t abandon safety measures!
This vaccine is a great holiday gift from the scientists to all of humanity – a gift that will end this plague – and it comes pre-packaged with an early New Year’s Resolution to stay safe.
We can do this!
You’ve got this!