we’re not out of the woods yet

I’m seeing more and more signs that Americans think COVID-19 is pretty much over and things can return to normal. Which is exactly what I feared would happen when the CDC said that unvaccinated people can go without masks.

Today about 50% of adult Americans are fully vaccinated. That means there are about 145 million adults and 72 million children here that aren’t. Some of them aren’t bothering to wear masks anymore, abusing the “honor system” most places have for their mask policy now, and putting the rest of them at risk.

In St. Louis City, it’s more like 26.5% and in St. Louis County, 34%. In rural Pulaski County where we went to get our shots because of the shortage in St. Louis early on, it’s down around ten percent.

Right now in our area, new cases per day is about the same as it was this time last year. That’s a lot lower than it was in winter, but it’s not close to zero.

India is going through a huge wave of it, and there are fears of a variant that might get past current vaccinations. Of course the more prevalent the virus is in the world, the greater the chance of such a variant developing.

There’s a likelihood that vaccinated people will still need booster shots, either to cover the original strain or against additional variants, and Moderna is actually preparing for that right now.

The last I’ve heard, data on the effectiveness of the various vaccines for immunocompromised people is still lacking. The J&J vaccine is apparently somewhat less effective for diabetic people, but there haven’t been any longer term studies.

Early during the pandemic, before my office went to work-from home, and when we were getting conflicting info and then asked to wear homemade masks, and a short while after that, I felt a lot of anxiety over it — like every person I saw was a potential health hazard. And I’m starting to feel that way again, a bit, now that increasing numbers of people are going around without masks. I am actually not looking forward to things being more open and “normal” again right now — because it’s no longer normal! I can continue not eating in restaurants, and wearing masks inside stores, and mostly staying at home, and just never being in crowds ever. I would like to visit my family, and I’d like to visit some aquariums and zoos and stuff like that again sometime. But I feel like it’s a mistake to pretend everything is okay before it actually is. Didn’t that happen too much in 2020 already, making the pandemic worse as a result?

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