David Pisarra

The approval by the FDA of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last week is a welcome bit of light at the end of a very dark year – but that is no reason to let up on the protective measures that we’ve been asked to do. This is the week that the hospitals are going to start seeing the death rate increase, again, from Thanksgiving. Just as we are entering the heavy travel season for Christmas.

Having a vaccine available is a wonderful development – the thing that concerns me is that people will let up on their mask wearing, and social distancing since the “cure” to a pandemic seems to have arrived. However, that’s not true.

When I went to check on where I was likely to be in getting the vaccine, which I would take in a heartbeat, with no health risks, I’m the 268 millionth pool nationally, with 31 million Californians ahead of me and 7.9 million Angelenos beating me to the vaccine. Yes, as a 54 year old, overweight man, I’m waaaaayyyy down the list of the people who are going to get this vaccine. If I claim health risks, my position in line jumps up significantly – I have only 23 million ahead of me in the nation, then 2.6 million in California, and I’d be in the first 705,000 to get the vaccine.

Here’s the problem at the moment though, the vaccine is not readily available and even though there is another manufacturer coming online to assist, it’s going to be months before there is enough mass production to distribute to all Americans. And then there is the resistance of some of us to taking a “new” vaccine that hasn’t been proven.

Except that it has been proven. It’s effective, in fact it may one of the most effective ever produced. It’s not a new technology, it’s a new iteration of a technology that is relatively new and has the added benefit of being something that does not carry the actual virus so there is no, zero, zip, nada chance of the recipient getting sick from the vaccine. Are there side effects to the vaccine, some have been noted, nothing horrendous, and the warning is that those people who are at risk of other reactions, should steer clear for a bit.

So what that means is that there will be a large population who will not take the vaccine, and will remain at risk of becoming infected and/or being carriers of the COVID19 virus. The more of them there are, the longer the disease will be a major problem for us and our medical system.

Which is why we all need to continue to be proactive about wearing masks, limiting our social life and keeping our distance. I know it’s difficult, I am not a fan of the mask thing, and for someone who has spent the last 50 years being a social butterfly, this isolation is very uncomfortable.

It’s also hitting the kids hard. Depression is up among the youth, schools are reporting dropping grades and attendance, parents are going nuts having to be teacher and full time parent. This is a continuing difficult period and frankly I expect it to continue well into the 1st quarter of 2021, if not the 2nd quarter.

We’re only just now feeling the impact of the Thanksgiving rush, and the return home of college students, those few who were on-campus. As the Christmas travel season ramps up, I’m expecting to see the country go even darker red on the infection rate maps. It’s not the travel per se that’s the issue. It’s the gather of family and the relaxing of standard because humans are pack animals and we crave personal contact and touch – which is bad for disease prevention.

Hopefully we can contain this virus spread better than we have been, and I’m praying that the projections are off for the death totals, but I’m fearful that they will be right. Please do what you can, keep that mask up, stay home and enjoy the new work from home protocols of business attire on top and jammies below.