Fearsome Forecast For a Haunted Halloween

The scariest costume I can imagine this Halloween is that of an unvaccinated person.

But, of course, there is no costume that makes you look like an unvaccinated person. They look exactly like vaccinated people.

Catherine and I are immunized. I’ve even had the Pfizer booster. Catherine is waiting to get the Moderna booster. But we’re staying home a lot, aging in place. We’re confused about masks. Everywhere you go you have to figure out if you need to wear a mask. We need them at church but not the grocery store. Appointments (and masks) are required at some businesses that are normally walk-in.

Don’t misunderstand me. Catherine and I are retired so are actually the lucky ones. We can only imagine just how difficult it must be for families juggling work, kids and school. We know we would have struggled.

You might wonder why masks even matter if you’re vaccinated. But people who have been vaccinated can still catch it and spread it, even with no symptoms. Maybe we’ve had it and didn’t realize it. Should we get tested? How often? Maybe we should test ourselves each morning when we brush our teeth.

We still need to be careful for the sake of young kids who aren’t eligible for the vaccine yet and for anyone vaccinated but who is still vulnerable due to chronic health issues. We don’t want our youngest generation to suffer when there isn’t much they can do until a vaccine is available to them. Maybe by the time you read this a vaccine will have been approved for them.

Some semblance of normality has returned. A lot of businesses are open again. We go to restaurants. We shop. But we still social distance. We try to pay attention to recommendations. And we’re all really tired of it. It’s wearing us out.

Here’s what our lives are like. Catherine does a lot for her mother who is in assisted living. Sometimes she can visit her and other times she can’t because someone has been exposed. Our church finally stopped doing Zoom services and started holding services in person. But now some have tested positive so those who attend must wear masks. Other church events are on hold.

We talk to neighbors at a distance but only when we happen to see them. We transact a lot of business over the internet now, business we used to do in person.

And we all know that it wouldn’t need to be this way. We’re still suffering because we need 75-85 percent of the population fully vaccinated for it to fade away (herd immunity) and we’re not even at 60 percent yet. If all kids age 5-11 get approved for the shot and receive it, we’d still only be at about 64 percent. And we know not every kid will receive it.

We’ve been vaccinated many, many times in our lives for various diseases because we knew it was the right thing to do. Take a walk through an old cemetery and see how many people died in their youth from diseases we have now conquered through vaccines.

So why now is this particular lifesaving vaccine not the right thing to do for so many? What is different about it from a measles or chickenpox or even a yearly flu shot? Even the polio vaccine is given to infants before age two. And why are people in nearly any other country clamoring for the shot?

This situation has led to workplace mandates to get vaccinated. Alternatives might include getting tested often or even losing your job. There are some exemptions to getting vaccinated. Suddenly a lot of people have found religion.

There isn’t a federal or state law that requires everyone to get vaccinated. Everyone still has personal freedom. They can get the shot or freely look for another job. There are many available these days.

I wouldn’t want to work around people who are not vaccinated. I could still get infected from them and pass it on to a child or someone with an immune disorder. I also would expect my doctor and the rest of the medical staff to be inoculated. Why would I trust medical staff to take care of me if they don’t take care of themselves? Think of the many whose medical procedures have been delayed because staff is too busy caring for COVID patients. Some have died while waiting.

And now that a vaccine has been available for some time, why are valuable medical resources with their associated large costs being spent on those who shouldn’t have needed to be there in the first place? Don’t forget that we taxpayers are covering many of these costs. I bet many doctors wish they could simply tell the unvaccinated who show up sick with COVID to get their health care elsewhere. 

The battle over masks in schools will likely devolve further once a version of a COVID vaccine is available for young children. How will schools deal with the kids whose caretakers refuse to get them vaccinated? With rare exception these same kids have received their other vaccines.

Those that remain unvaccinated face a possible nasty illness or even death. Are they offering themselves up as incubators for the next COVID variant just to prove some nebulous point?

That’s what’s really scary this Halloween.

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