It’s that time of year again when the sun sets earlier and the weather gets colder. Winter HAS arrived. In farming country, the harvest is in and the equipment is put up in the barn, just as everyday folk everywhere were putting up decorations. Business at shopping malls picked up for the holidays, and around here, in North Jersey, the weather in December was not too bad at all. We enjoyed near-record temperatures quite a few days in a row.
It’s been a tricky year for a lot of people, in a lot of ways, for a lot of reasons – not the least of which being Covid-19 and everything that came with it, including the variants that health departments, schools, and businesses everywhere are rightfully on the lookout for now.
People who are vaccinated against the pandemic continue to climb and booster shots are being administered, but there are still people who refuse to get the jab. It baffles me that there are still so many who refuse to get vaccinated – so much so that the recent uptick in infection rates is now being called “the pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
At this point, there’s not much more that can be done or said, in my opinion, to convince the skeptics that getting vaccinated is really the right thing to do to protect friends and loved ones from getting ill. I mean, really, what more is it gonna take to get through to some folks? In our circle of friends and loved ones there’s a real schism that exists between some family members who are now divided by who is or is not vaccinated, which has led to empty chairs at holiday gatherings.
It’s just a sad state of affairs.
So, as we enter a New Year, if you’re vaccinated and you’ve gotten your booster shots, thank you. If you have family or friends who are not vaccinated or will not get vaccinated, be kind to them. There’s something going on in their minds that they may not even be aware of or are unwilling to admit yet. In either case, you don’t have to invite them into your homes for the holidays, nor do you and yours have to go to theirs, just because everyone’s invited. But I think we all have to do our best to be civil about our deeply held differences, whatever they may be, and attempt to get past those differences in the spirit of the season – if for no other reason than it really is the right thing to do.
The world has been reeling from the pandemic, which has claimed the lives of an estimated 5.4 million people – 805,000 of those fatalities occurred here in the United States. While the numbers continue to be tracked, an estimated 69.5% of Americans have received at least one dose, 59% are fully vaccinated and 18.7% have received their booster. That leaves nearly 1/3 of Americans unvaccinated.
At a recent Whitehouse briefing, Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, the Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that, “Unvaccinated people are about 6 times more likely to test positive than vaccinated people, 9 times more likely to be hospitalized, and 14 times more likely to die from COVID-related complications.”
Though vaccine booster shots for all adults have been authorized, Walensky said that, “We are not losing sight of the goal to vaccinate all who are eligible with their primary vaccine series. Forty-seven million eligible American adults and more than twelve million teens are still not fully vaccinated and remain at the highest risk from the disease.”
Halfway through December, major COVID statistics started to spike precipitously. The seven-day daily average of cases was about 92,800 per day, an 18% increase over the previous week, and about 5,600 people per day were being hospitalized with COVID, a 6% increase over the previous week. The seven-day average of daily deaths was 1,000 per day, according to webmd.com.
Since then, as one court strikes down President Biden’s vaccine mandate, yet another appeals court reaffirms it, as many talking heads speculate on whether or not the case will reach the Supreme Court and when, and how the court might or might not rule. One indisputable fact remains: the pandemic rages on.
And so, the rest of us are left to decide what will come next for the New Year and what plans to make trusting in GOD. Judging from the news reports of the number of anti-vax clerics who have already succumbed to the pandemic, I for one am of the mindset of Jack Web’s fact driven character on the crime show Dragnet, when he famously said, “Just the facts ma’am.”
While people and politicians lie and the Supreme Court has ruled those lies are akin to free speech, the data doesn’t lie, and we don’t need a court decision to interpret the foolishness of not being vaccinated – thus proving the efficacy of the axiom: “In GOD We Trust… All Others Bring Data.”