Whether or not some people want to believe it, we are in the eye of a deadly storm as COVID infections escalate with the introduction of even more deadly virus mutations, as if we were lifting safety restrictions, such as wearing masks.
Masking up has played a big role in stopping the spread of the airborne virus, and combined with vaccines, has gone a long way in getting us on the path to normalcy.
Charlie Baker, the delta version hasn’t quite had the same footing here as it has in Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, Florida, California or Louisiana, accounting for 40% of the nation’s new cases. Baker can show other governors how it’s done.
But shame on the so called politicians who are propagating false narratives about vaccines and provoking the uneducated. The lack of trust by those who have been vaccinated is not a character flaw, but the mixed messages received by many are not convincing. While I believe in following science, I also believe in questioning it. One of its main goals is to vaccinate as many people as possible to bring herd immunity. I’m not sure we’ll ever achieve a 70%-85% vaccination rate which is reportedly the threshold for herd immunity. The goal now is to diversify efforts to stop the virus in its tracks.
You don’t need to be an epidemiologist to understand that COVID will continue to mutate as it spreads around the world. It excels at becoming more and more contagious and harder to fight.
We can’t even agree on where it came from, or how it initially spread. People are afraid, and rightly so.
If we have learned to win one victory for ourselves in this fight, it is wearing masks. I don’t leave the house without one – and you shouldn’t either. We are not out of the woods yet.
As I walked through my neighborhood last week, as I often do, I was extremely proud of my efforts to better serve the community hardest hit by the virus in so many ways. Community health centers still strive to encourage vaccination. People in public housing are still praising former mayoral candidate Dr. John Santiago for taking the initiative to get his fellow doctors to give shots in senior housing. The COVID Wax Bus was erected in Michael Bivins Court, an initiative of the Black Boston COVID-19 Coalition. Another of his efforts is the giant billboard overlooking Grove Hall, which encourages people of color to take shots. Churches and community centers are also distributing not only shots and advice but food and support as well. Help in black and brown neighborhoods was coming of late – and it is especially important for us to continue these efforts on the road to achieving greater equality in health care.
The virus is now making inroads into youth from school age to college, many of whom have not yet received a vaccine. Vaccinated or not, all students and teachers should wear a mask when they return in the fall. I believe all caregivers and those working in health care facilities and assisted living facilities are required to be vaccinated, tested frequently, and to wear masks.
One of the reasons why the first round of COVID-19 spread, especially in assisted living facilities, was the mobility of workers who did not need testing as they moved out to different locations and came into contact with vulnerable patients and their families. .
I applaud Northeastern University for its new initiative that requires masks and frequent testing. Kudos to Federal Judge Damon R. Even to Lychee, who ruled that Indiana University may require students to take the shot. Such actions will be helpful in reducing the spread among students traveling from countries, cities and towns where the virus is growing.
It is a fast spreading, debilitating, deadly virus and there is no need to politicize it. COVID is coming for our children, and undoubtedly making the rounds for our most vulnerable.
Right now, masks and vaccinations are our best weapons. Use them and inspire others to do the same.
Joyce Feriabou Bolling is a media and political strategist and communications specialist.