It’s been a hard year for all. Half a million Americans have died from Covid. I think of the hundreds of thousands of families that have lost someone. But it’s not just Covid19 deaths, I have lost four relatives in the past year. Because of the Pandemic, there has been no funeral, no way to say goodbye.
I look at other countries that took Covid19 seriously, and I’m jealous. They are now back to normal, except for international travel. The Lancet, a UK medical journal, on February 10th, published a study that compared the covid response of the G7 countries. “The global COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on the USA, with more than 26 million diagnosed cases and over 450000 deaths as of early February 2021, about 40% of which could have been averted had the U.S. death rate mirrored the weighted average of the other G7 nations,” the report explains.
Our high covid19 death numbers are self-inflicted. We have known for a long time what we must do to get back to normal. Yes, there was a lack of scientific consensus on wearing masks in the early weeks of the pandemic. The scientists did not understand that the majority of people who got COVID19 were asymptomatic, nor were they aware that a substantial proportion of people who got infected got infected from people who were without symptoms. But by April 3, 2020, In an interview on PBS News hour, back when we had only hit 5,000 deaths, Dr. Fauci said that the scientist had been operating on limited information about the nature of the disease and the fast-moving trajectory of the outbreak in the US. By April the recommendation became to wear a mask and social distance. That has not changed.
It’s amazing to me that there are still people calling the mask rules nonsensical. The recommendation to wear masks has not changed since April. To say this is confusing just demonstrates a basic misunderstanding of the scientific process. Scientific consensus changes as more facts are understood. As scientists began to understand Covid19 their recommendations on masks changed from not necessary to necessary.
This mask “Issue” reminds me of a story I heard in church a long time ago. It seems that there was this man who lived on the bank of a major river. He heard on the news that the river would flood. He prayed that God would protect him. A few hours later the sheriff came by and advised him to evacuate, but he told the sheriff that God would protect him. The waters rose and soon his first floor was flooded. A local search and rescue team came by in a boat and told him to get into the boat. He told the people in the boat that God would protect him and he was staying. The floodwaters continued to rise and soon his second floor was flooded and climbed out on his roof. A national guard helicopter came by and offered him a lift. He declined saying “God till protect me.” A few hours later he drowns and was standing at the pearly gates. He asked God, “Why did you not protect me.” God’s reply was “I told to get out on the radio, I sent the sheriff by to get you out. I sent a boat and a helicopter to get you out to protect you.” People refusing to wear masks or calling science an idol which the mask wearer is blindly following remind me of this man who drowns. God gave us the scientists, who have figured out how to protect ourselves from COVID19.
I can’t help but be saddened when I drive down the main streets of the cities around me and see so many businesses gone, that were there a year ago. In some cases, the pandemic just accelerated trends that were already underway. People have been moving to online shopping and big box stores (like Walmart and Costco) for a long time. The end of the pandemic will not change that. Those businesses are gone. Other industries such as travel, entertainment, and dining, were hit hard and saw their income and stock prices stumble. However, when we get to the end of the pandemic, people are going to go out to dinner, go on cruises, go to resorts, and travel. There is a huge pent-up demand. Investors have already figured this out and we see stocks such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian are already up 300% from their lowest prices at the end of March Some stocks, such as Hilton, and Disney have already fully recovered and more. This is not the great recession of 2008, the economy will bounce back quickly. I expect it will be hard to get reservations at restaurants in the fall.
However, this will not bring back the small Ma and Pa stores that failed during the pandemic and that saddens me.
On Monday, I get my second Pfizer shot. I honestly would have taken any of the three vaccines. They all are effective against the original COVID19 strain but in different ways. The question now is how effective are they against the new mutations such as the UK, Brazil, and South African. I have only researched the one I am getting and recent studies show that the Pfizer vaccine is still effective against the UK and Brazil.
My advice is to take whatever vaccine is offered.
With the acceleration of the vaccine rollout under Biden, we could be getting back closer to normal this summer. The wildcard is the mutations of COVID. The longer COVID is rampant around the world, the more mutation will occur. Borders will not protect us against the mutations. Now is not the time to let now our guard. We need to stop the spread globally to really get back to normal.
It has been a long year. However, I can honestly say I have not gotten bored. Dorothy Parker, best known for co-writing the movie script for ‘A Star Is Born’ wrote “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” I am frustrated about the lack of travel and face-to-face interactions, but I’ve read more books, done more in the yard, and have stayed very busy. I still haven’t seen the second season of “The Maladorian”. But I will fix that soon
So wear a mask, social distance and get the vaccine as soon as you legally can, so we can reopen more quickly.