After everything that we have been through in the nearly two years, I would think that we would use our heads. But logic still seems elusive, even when the facts are right in front of our eyes.
The United States reached a grim milestone this week, 700,000 people have lost their lives to Covid-19. In spite of the proof that the vaccine prevents hospitalization, severe illness, and (most importantly) death, there many who refuse to get the jab. In New York City, teachers and other school personnel had until today at 5PM to get the first shot. If the choice was made to remained unvaccinated on Monday morning, those who made that decision will be forced to go on unpaid leave. Statewide, a similar mandate has been put into place for healthcare workers. The only exemption is for religious purposes. Those wishing to file have until October 12th to do so.
I don’t get it. We are all entitled to our rights. But, we also have to realize that the vaccine requirement is not being done for shits and giggles. It is the only way to defeat this virus. What is frustrating to me is that teachers and healthcare staff work with those who are the most vulnerable to Covid-19. The reason I was vaccinated earlier this year was not just for selfish reasons. G-d forbid I get sick, the last thing I want is to spread it.
We know what we need to do. The science is clear. But instead of getting it done and returning to normal, we continue to be foolish and let our fellow Americans die for no good reason.
May G-d have mercy on all of us and one day, forgive us for what we have done.
Regardless of where one stands on any specific social or cultural issues, there is one thing we can all agree upon. The media, in its various formats, has a huge role on determining how we view the world around us. The problem is that in our fractured society, one’s perspective depends on which media one consumes and the messages they are putting out to their audience.
Last month, The Hill reported that Fox News, as per New York state mandate, the network was requiring its employees to provide their Covid-19 vaccination status to HR. While they have been internally making sure that their staff have gotten the shots, the ideas that are being communicated to their viewers is the opposite. Their lies and outrageous half truths have added to the death toll and the unnecessary grief that too many American families have forced to live with.
Granted, every media company has their own perspective and an audience who has a receptive ear to the content they are watching and/or reading. However, there is also a responsibility to at the very least, tell the truth. What they say has consequences. In light of what we are currently going through, those consequences can either save a life or take a life. I don’t know about you, but I would rather see someone live than die needlessly from a preventable disease.
When it comes to abortion, the people who are against it believe in the right to life. They are entitled to their beliefs, but the question I have to ask is whose life is important and within what parameters?
The political spotlight has been in Texas for the past few weeks due to the new anti-abortion law that has galvanized the nation. The sad and disgusting irony is that while the powers that be in that state are concerned with the uterus’s of the female residents, they are ignoring the lives that are being lost due to Covid-19.
Kali Cook died from the virus last week. She was just four years old. Though she was too young to be vaccinated, her mother was not. Covid then passed to the entire family. As of this article, Kali was the only one whose life was taken. Speaking to the press, her mother said the following:
“I was one of the people that was anti, I was against it,” she said. “Now, I wish I never was.”
The question I have to ask Governor Abbott and other lawmakers is how many deaths it will take to open their eyes? The loss of this precious child and the millions of other Americans is on their hands. They know, as we all do, what we need to do to stop this disease and save lives. Instead, they continue on this path that will only lead to more Americans dead and a nation with scars that may never heal.
When I was a kid, I thought that my parents were immortal and always right. As I got older, I began to see that not only were they mortal, but they were as prone to making mistakes as anyone is.
Since Covid-19 entered this country last spring, more than half a million Americans lost their lives. Among these is a couple from Texas, Lydia and Lawrence Rodriguez. Before they were hospitalized, Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez were among those who were fervently against the vaccine. They left behind four children under the age of twenty, three of who are above the age range in which they can receive the shot.
Speaking to her sister for the last time, Mrs. Rodriguez made the following request:
“Please make sure my kids get vaccinated,”
99.9% of these deaths were preventable. My heart breaks not just for their children, but for every child in this country who has lost a parent, grandparent, or other relation. There is no logical reason for these deaths, except for stubbornness or stupidity. Mr. and Mrs. Rodriquez were stubborn. Radio host Phil Valentine was stupid. He believed that the virus and the toll it was taking was exaggerated.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I hate to speak ill of the dead, especially in this circumstance. But it makes me angry that there were and continue to be plenty of opportunities to stop this disease in its tracks. But there are many who refuse to act to not just save their lives, but the lives of the people around them.
May the memory of everyone who we have lost or will lose to Covid be a blessing.
If there is one thing that defines the United States, it is that our freedom is everything to us. Our founding documents make freedom part and parcel of everything that this nation is built on. But it comes with a cost.
“The federal government has no right to tell parents that in order for their kids to attend school in person, they must be forced to wear a mask all day, every day,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Many Florida schoolchildren have suffered under forced masking policies, and it is prudent to protect the ability of parents to make decisions regarding the wearing of masks by their children.”
Governor Abbott has chosen to not only refuse to implement statewide standards, but he is preventing local officials from doing the same.
“Going forward, in Texas, there will not be any government-imposed shutdowns or mask mandates,” Abbott said. “Everyone already knows what to do.”
I will not and cannot deny that parents have the right to make the healthcare decisions for their children. However, school has started or will start soon (depending on where you live). The delta variant has proven to be more deadly than the initial version of the virus. According to a NY Times article on July 20th, 83% of new cases are due to the variant. We also have to take into account that children ages 0-12 are still not eligible for the vaccine, opening the door to an unknown number of new cases in both children and adults.
Freedom is important. But it cannot help you if you are lying comatose on a hospital bed. Nor does it mean anything if you are with your maker because you were too foolish to take a simple life saving shot.
“Hate” is a word with a mixed meaning. It can be as benign as stating that you hate a certain type of food or color. Or, it can be as malicious as saying that you hate a certain group of people. We all know where this second statement can lead to.
In Lebanon, its been a year since explosion in Beirut. Instead of addressing the crisis that immediately followed the blast and healing the damage that it created, the neglect of those in power has added to the misery of the ordinary citizen. Both the government and the economy are collapsing. One might think that logic would come into play, but it hasn’t. The geniuses who lead this nation thought that the best use of their dwindling resources was to fire rockets at Israel.
If anyone can explain to me how this makes sense, I would love to hear it.
Earlier this summer, we started to believe that Covid-19 was starting to fade into history. Then the delta variant hit and the number of cases started to rise again. In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis has chosen to pretend that the virus is ancient history. He has removed all mask mandates, threatened to withhold funding to school districts that require masking, and is more concerned with his re-election campaign than the welfare of the people who reside within the state. He has also blamed immigrants for the increase in hospitalizations instead of looking to the fools who still refuse to get vaccinated. Covid does not care if you were born in this country or if you emigrated from another nation.
Blaming immigrants (or any minority group for that matter) has unfortunately been part of the human experience. The problem is that we never learn that this is belief is nothing but a myth. It is an easy way out instead of facing the issues that hold us back.
I know that we will never be able to answer this question, but when will we learn that hate is nothing more than a waste of time?
When humanity was created by the heavenly parent upstairs, we were given the ability to make our decisions. Which, as we all know, has consequences. Some for the better, and some for the worst.
In New York City, only 60% of public health workers are vaccinated. In response to these numbers, the Mayor has announced that those who remain unvaccinated must either get the shot(s) or submit to weekly Covid-19 testing. In my mind, this is a no-brainer. It is also common sense. Those who work in this sector interact with the public as part of their jobs. The ease of which both the medical professionals and the patients can catch and spread the virus is mind blowing. If g-d forbid I get the virus, I can isolate for two weeks, keep it to myself, and still do my job from home. They can’t.
I understand the reason for the hesitation. Most vaccines take about a decade before it is released to the public. For obvious reasons, the Covid-19 vaccine was developed much faster. However, I would think that given where they work and the rising numbers of cases due to the Delta variant, why wouldn’t they get the shot? Frankly, it would easier to just get it done than submit to weekly testing.
If we would use our g-d given brains, we would have potentially stopped this disease a long time ago. But because we didn’t, people continue to get sick and more lives will be lost.
At the end of the day, hate is foolish and wasteful. It blinds us to our common humanity and keeps us from supporting one another in challenging times.
Covid-19 has taken the lives of millions around the world. But while those people will never be forgotten, millions of others have been saved via the vaccine. In Israel, the government offered offered 1 million doses to the Palestinian authority. Claiming that the doses were too close the expiration date, the offer was rejected.
Instead of the shots going into the arms of the residents of the Gaza and the West Bank, 700,000 of them will sent to South Korea at at the end of this month. In return, the Israeli government will be receiving the same amount of doses sometime in the fall.
We have a common enemy here. It is this virus that takes no prisoners and has no respect for the cultural, religious, or national boundaries. Until humanity realizes this, we will continue to see our loved ones taken from us and the world as we know it to be changed for the worst.
For the last 14 months, we have reminded constantly that the most effective way to prevent the spread of Covid-19, we should be wearing masks when we are outside of our homes.
As of this week, the CDC has announced that for the most part, those who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear or practice social distancing.
While this is great news, it is also confusing. The confusion comes from the fact that many states, cities, and locales still require residents and visitors to wear masks when inside, regardless of vaccination status. In New York State and New York City for example, masks are still legally required when entering a place of business.
As of a week from this coming Monday, I will be fully vaccinated plus two weeks. But that does not mean that I will leave the mask at home.
Two important questions come up that must be answered:
How do we deal with the rise in fake vaccination cards? Will store managers and owners be able to determine what is real and what is not real?
If the local and state laws repeal the mask requirement, will businesses still ask for proof of vaccination? Not every customer may respond well when asked to show their card.
From the larger perspective, this is the news we have been waiting for for many months. But, before we can celebrate, the details must be ironed out.
Getting an appointment for a Covid vaccine these days is akin winning the lottery these days. I was lucky enough to be able to schedule my first appointment last week. For those who are still struggling to get the shot, hopefully these tips will help you to finally get the jab.
Check your state/and or local websites: I know that it is time consuming and not exactly efficient, but it is a good first step. Those living in New York City can look for appointments on the NYC Covid-19 Vaccine Finder website.
Be flexible on location and time: It goes without saying that it is ideal to get the jab in your neighborhood and on your preferred schedule. But that may not be possible. I don’t know about anyone else, but if I need to re-arrange my calendar and get in the car or take public transportation, I will.
Look beyond the chain drugstores: The chain drugstores are nice, but my experience was that it was impossible to find an open slot. I can’t speak about the listings on other websites, the NYC site also contains information for independent locations that are also providing the vaccine.
Think outside the box: I eventually was able to get the jab at a local pharmacy that had a sign outside their door. It may take some work, but you may want to walk around your neighborhood, join a Facebook group in your community, or google a list of pharmacies in your area. And if nothing else, word of mouth is never a bad route to take.
Don’t get stuck on just getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine: Of course, we would all love to get the one shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine (that is, when it comes back on the market). I would rather take what I can get and move on with my day.