On Wednesday July 14th, my wife and I were having dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Two days later we received a phone call to inform us that someone had tested positive in the restaurant. We were trying to get back to normal and instead we got that horrible feeling in the pit of our stomachs again.
We called our physician who said, “You have both been vaccinated. Don’t worry.”
In a matter of days Provincetown was to make the national news as one of the leading hot spots for the Delta variant. We both got tested. The results were negative.
Like so many other people we were just trying to resume our lives. Only Covid and its variants have other plans.
The virus is on the rise again, but it does no good to blame anyone. Encourage action by people but stay away from blame. Certain data points seem to be holding up. If you have been vaccinated, there is little chance you will be hospitalized or worse, die. 97% of those being hospitalized are not vaccinated. 97%. Those are pretty good odds. There are some cases of people who were vaccinated, getting the virus and feeling sick but they recover and so far not much out there that these cases turn into the long haulers – those who were unvaccinated, got the virus, recovered but are still suffering symptoms – there are many of them.
It would therefore seem that with being vaccinated your health risks are minimal. To those with vaccine hesitancy, I ask if you prefer to be one of the 610,000 who died or one of the millions of the long haulers? Each night there are multiple stories on the evening news of people in hospitals or family members of those who have gotten ill saying, “I should have listened.”
Pattern, being the data driven organization that it is, clearly supports being vaccinated. And yet, data does not seem to win the day.
It certainly doesn’t help that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) needs to keep revising their guidelines. But we view the changes as wise and necessary, even though it results in what I would call whipsaw. Didn’t you tell us just yesterday to not wear a mask? And now you say to wear one indoors in hotspots?
Yes. But that is how data works. The more data you get, the more you adjust. And that is what the CDC is doing.
Does this make it easy on individuals and policy makers? No. But, they did not warn us at the beginning of the Pandemic that the longer that Covid persists, the more chance of variants as the virus is allowed to mutate. We have known this since the early days of the Pandemic, and that is exactly what is happening. The more people that remain unvaccinated, the higher the chance the virus can find new hosts and has opportunity to continue to mutate. This was predicted and it is why the CDC needs to adjust its guidelines.
We have had a good summer season. People were out and about. Tourism and sales tax revenue were high. Many of us had a chance to catch our breath. Be with family and friends. Many of us got vaccinated but not nearly enough.
The fall and the winter are coming. As we are free to move about, there will be a higher cold and flu season. Every time someone does not feel well, they will wonder what is causing it. We know that the vaccine works and that masks help. We have no choice but to listen, adapt and continue to innovate. We must learn to live with the virus safely.