The coronavirus vaccines are here! A few of them, anyway. And they’re making their way through our ranks, bringing with them a wave of truth and reckoning powered by science and math.
The goal is to have enough Americans vaccinated to create herd immunity — 70 percent is the figure being bandied about, combining vaccinated Americans with those who have survived coronavirus. We’ll need about 200 million doses in the US, which could happen by the end of March.
Right now, social media feeds are full of ER nurses and ICU doctors tearfully accepting their needlesful of chemical immunity. Per the CDC, other “essential” jobs: first responders (cops, firemen and EMTs), old people and others in immediate danger of dying from the virus. Then come teachers, inmates, homeless-shelter guests and workers “essential to the functioning of society and substantially higher risk of exposure.” Journalists fall under this category, too — there are 87 million of us in these tranches. And while I’m not sure that I myself rate this spot in the line, I’m glad to know my reporters will be able to get shots when they come in.
Before all this, the vaccine was made available to every member of the US House and Senate, whether or not they “believed” in the coronavirus — Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez took it; Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Ilhan Omar did not, though in fairness, Paul was one of the first members of the Senate to test positive for coronavirus, back in March.
I predict that the ranks of coronavirus-deniers will start to thin as the vaccines start circulating, as their mouthpieces get in line to take their shots. It’s one thing to bring a fake doctor’s note to the supermarket so you don’t have to wear a mask, quite another to give up your place in the line.
But today we’re still getting more than a million new cases a week in the US, still losing more than a thousand a day, still grappling with the losses that coronavirus continues to deal out.
The long winter starts now. There’s something better on the other side.
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