Since When Are We “Post-Covid”?

Update 08/01/2021

“We gotta talk about your post.” That was the text message I got from my sister-in-law: epidemiologist and kick-ass lady in general. “I think you can add to it to make it better.”

My SIL’s point, and the one which I did not clearly make in the article below, is this:

Vaccination is the solution to a post-Covid world.

Breakthrough infections are EXTREMELY rare. Vaccinated people who have died of Covid had underlying conditions.

The way we protect those who are immunocompromised and those who are too young to get vaccinated is by getting vaccinated ourselves.

So get vaccinated.

Full. Stop.

I’m adding this to the top of this article because, as my SIL pointed out, I did not say this in my post. It wasn’t clear at all. I’m going to leave the original post below so that everyone can see how sometimes I can completely miss making any kind of productive point in an article. Most of the time, that doesn’t really matter. But when it comes to public health information, it is extremely important to be clear.

I was not clear. My mistake. And I’m so glad I have such awesome readers who aren’t afraid to give me feedback. Love you, SIL.

Original Post

Am I missing something here?

More than 610,000 people have died of Covid-19 in the United States.

That’s over 110,000 lives lost since February 22nd, when the president held a memorial ceremony for the victims of Covid-19 at the White House.

This month, the number of infections has risen in more than two dozen states. The Delta variant is spreading rapidly and according to data from the Washington Post (link above), the death rate among unvaccinated people is as high as it was among the population in general last January.

So, why am I hearing and reading about a “post-covid” world?

An Inconvenient Reality

The hard truth is that this virus is still spreading, infecting and killing people. Even here in the United States, where 50% of the population has received at least one dose of vaccine.

The unvaccinated are dying–young and old.

I’ve heard people scoff and say, “They brought it on themselves”–but my stomach turns at that attitude. These are human beings, lives and families we’re talking about.

Who knows why a person hasn’t been vaccinated? Perhaps they’re under the age of 12 and cannot be vaccinated yet.

Perhaps they can’t because of autoimmune issues. Maybe they have access issues and cannot get to where they can get vaccinated.

And yes, maybe some are refusing to get vaccinated because of misguided beliefs. But they’re still people, fellow citizens and human beings, and their deaths are just as tragic as those that went before them.

Living in a Bubble

We’ve “opened up” in our area, with masks no longer mandated and capacity limits lifted in restaurants and other venues. As of yesterday, our county has a 54.2% vaccination rate.

Some establishments still require masks when indoors, but the vast majority of people are going around maskless, including young, unvaccinated kids.

My worry is what will happen if and when this bubble bursts.

Breakthrough infections DO happen, and vaccinated people have died of Covid-19. Admittedly, most vaccinated people who have ended up hospitalized with Covid-19 have had severe underlying conditions, but still.

The fact remains that vaccines do not always protect from infection (they are effective in preventing severe illness and death, yes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get infected).

And once you are infected, data show that you can still pass it on to those around you.

Why I’m Still Masking

Yes, the probability of my getting infected is low.

And if I get infected, the probability of my passing on the infection to my unvaccinated children is very low.

But I don’t care if the chances are one in 1,000,000. As long as there is a chance of that happening, I will wear a mask.

And I will have my children wear masks.

Come the school year, they may be the only ones wearing masks in their classes (though somehow I doubt that). But at this point I consider wearing a mask much like wearing a helmet on a bicycle. I don’t care if your friends don’t do it.

You will.

And so will I.

I Get Some Looks

People look at me funny now when I have my mask on indoors. They may think I’m an anti-vaxxer who has refused to get the shot.

Or perhaps they think I’m being obnoxious and making a political statement.

You may think so, but honestly my wearing a mask is not intended to be a political statement. My thinking goes like this:

I’ve just been traveling internationally (to a country the State Department and the CDC agree is a hotbed for the Delta variant).

Wouldn’t it stink if I unwittingly got infected (remember: getting infected is not the same as getting sick with Covid!) and passed it on to you?

And wouldn’t it stink if you were one of those 5% of people whose vaccine doesn’t successfully protect against severe illness?

Wouldn’t that stink?

I Can Handle Looks

Yes, the likelihood is low. Yet it still exists.

So glare away. I’m going to keep masking for now. At least until both our children are fully vaccinated. And maybe longer. We’ll see.

I invite you to join me.

Let’s put up with a little inconvenience and discomfort for now, in order to better enjoy that Post-Covid world when it really comes.

Image source

Jane

The Brain In Jane works mainly in the rain. It's always raining somewhere. Find me on Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

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