Today, the country celebrates its independence from the British Crown. Fireworks shows abound. It is a stark contrast from last year, when celebrations across the country were canceled due to the public health emergency. What a difference a year makes.
For many, it is not only a celebration of our nation’s independence, but it is also a celebration of independence from COVID. All across the country, so many are acting like the pandemic is over. In fact, nearly one-third of Americans think the pandemic is over, according to a recent Gallup poll. During a recent trip to Tennessee, my hotel had open buffet breakfast once again. Again, what a difference a year makes.
The thing is this: the virus is not done with us. There continue to be hotspots all across the country, most notably in Missouri, where the Delta variant has caused a dramatic uptick in cases.
Dr. Anthony Fauci recently told CNN’s Don Lemon:
When you have such a low level of vaccination superimposed upon a variant that has a high degree of efficiency of spread, what you’re going to see among under-vaccinated regions — be they states, cities or counties — you’re going to see these individual types of blips. It’s almost like it’s going to be two Americas. You’re going to have areas where the vaccine rate is high, where there’s more than 70% of the population has received at least one dose. When you compare that with areas where you might have 35% of the people vaccinated, you clearly have a high risk of seeing these spikes in those selected areas.
And that’s what we are seeing.
Truly, the only way we can truly gain independence from this virus is to get vaccinated. It is as simple as that. The vaccines are extremely safe, and they are extremely effective. I have taken the vaccine myself (the Pfizer mRNA vaccine), and I vaccinated every member of my familiy that was eligible. In my hospital, we have neglible numbers of COVID patients, because a substantial proportion of our local population has been vaccinated. And, of those patients who did end up needing hospitalization for COVID, 98% of them were unvaccinated. Vaccination works.
We need to get over this pandemic. We are all tired, especially those of us on the front lines. To a person, everyone whom I ask answers the same: we are not mentally equipped for another surge of COVID. We will break. My heart bleeds for my colleagues across the country who are dealing with local surges of COVID. Please.
Get the vaccine. It is the only way out of this pandemic. And it is the only way we can finally be free and independent from this virus.