Photo Credit: screenshot (NBC)
Unvaccinated 24 year old with a double lung transplant

It ain’t over till it’s over. Put another way: it ain’t over till the fat lady sings’. Ya gotta love former New York Yankee all star catcher, Yogi Berra. He was a genius. He captured a trenchant thought better than anyone with those redundancies. They are classic. Used all the time by all kinds of people in all walks of life.

The first phrase emphasizes the fact that one cannot make judgments about any event until it’s completed. And the second emphasizes the fact that there is a known point signaling when an event actually ends (Berra based it on what he saw as the typically overweight opera diva that closes an opera with her singing.)

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That is currently the situation with COVID-19. It ain’t over. The fat lady has not yet sung. The reality of COVID is that it is still here and seems to be getting worse. In some states the infection rate is higher than ever. There are cases of COVID so severe they require hospitalization!

Who would have believed that this could have happened when a proven safe and effective vaccine was developed that provides 95% immunity?

In the early days of the vaccine’s release, it seemed like the entire world could not wait to get it. People were flying in from all over the world just to get the shot. The vaccine rollout was rationed at first, giving it out only essential workers, the immune compromised, and the elderly. People that ‘cut in line’ were severely criticized! In short, the vaccine was treated like it was pure gold. I for one could not wait to get it, and as soon as I was able to, I jumped in.

That is how I thought the entire world felt. I believed that it was just a matter time. That getting the vaccine out to everyone as soon as possible would give us herd immunity. And, Wala!   …we could all go back to normal and not worry about COVID anymore. That this disease would see a happy ending for us – much the same way polio and smallpox ended after their vaccines came out.

Boy was I wrong! We now see that those original assumptions were way off. Only about half the population is fully vaccinated – even though anyone can get a shot now without delay. Too many people are simply refusing to get it.

One may ask, if half of us are vaccinated, shouldn’t there be some reduction in illness instead of the massive increases we are now experiencing?

At first, that seems to be exactly what happened. Cases of COVID were drastically reduced. As were hospitalizations and deaths. That generated loosening protective measures like social distancing and wearing masks.  Local and state governments all over the country started doing that and opening up. Allowing large gatherings even indoors where infections spread more easily and more rapidly. In short we stated getting back to normal.

But that virus has a mind of its own. It did not go away. It instead mutated into the Delta variant – which is far more infectious and deadly.  Hospitals in low vaccination areas are as crowded as they were in the pre-vaccine early stages of the pandemic. We are going in the wrong direction!

The good news for those of us that are fully vaccinated is that we are still protected. And even in the rare instances of a break-through infection – where a fully vaccinated individual gets COVID, it is either asymptomatic or a very mild case.  With very few if any hospitalizations. On the other hand – half of the country that is not vaccinated is at greater risk now than we all were before the vaccine was developed.

There are 2 reasons for that. One is that fact that the Delta variant is more infectious meaning that it is more transmissible. An individual that has it  infects a lot more people than does a person who had the original COVID virus. Delta is now the dominant virus. I believe 85% of all COVID cases ae Delta!

The other reason is that the data shows that fully vaccinated people can carry a huge viral load, be asymptomatic, and unknowingly spread the disease – same as the unvaccinated! I heard one health expert say that if you are not vaccinated, you can expect to get COVID. Very likely – the Delta variant.

And if that news isn’t bad enough, it appears that the protection these vaccines provide begins to wear off after 6 months, leaving the elderly and immune compromised who got them early – more vulnerable. Both Pfizer and Moderna have said that we will all need a 3rd booster shot before the winter.

This is the state of affairs right now. The blame for all this bad news falls squarely on those that have not gotten the vaccine. They are the ones getting sick and spreading it the most. It did not help matters that various state and local governments pulled the trigger on returning to normal too soon by reducing or eliminating mitigation protocols. Once we aren’t wearing masks – it’s hard to put them back on. Even for those of us that have been meticulous in following those protocols. Because once ‘torture’ has been removed, it’s much harder to tolerate it when it is reinstated than it was the first time.

Had everyone gotten vaccinated when they could, we would not be having these problems. Every time I hear someone say they are not going to get the vaccine because they don’t trust it… and then add that it is more dangerous than COVID – it just plain makes me angry! Especially people that spout conspiracy theories about big pharma, health officials, and the government colluding –  persuading us to take a dangerous vaccine for personal gain. That nonsense makes me livid!

How could ANYONE be that stupid?! Let alone half the country. How could anyone be that irresponsible? Do they not realize that even if they don’t die after getting COVID, they might nonetheless be responsible for the serious illness or death of a loved one they inadvertently infected? A parent? A grandparent? An individual who cannot get the vaccine for legitimate health reasons? A child under 12 who is not eligible for the vaccine?

Hospitals are filled with unvaccinated COVID patients that mostly have the Delta variant. Are the anti vaxxers blind? And even if they were right (which they are not!)  …are they so selfish that they can only think of themselves? Do they not care about infecting others?

There is no antidote for stupidity.

Like it or not, there has to be a federal mandate requiring everyone to get vaccinated (unless they have legitimate health issues that prevent them form doing so). Or else be quarantined, Or at least be barred from participating in any indoor or outdoor gathering of any type. If we don’t do this COVID  will be with us for a long time – and may yet mutate into a variant where these vaccines will not be effective! God help us all.

 

{Reposted from the Emes Ve-Emunah blog}

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Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.