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.
If there is one word on everyone’s lips these days, it is “vaccine”. The questions of who can get the Covid-19 vaccine, where can we get it, how we can get an appointment, etc. are everywhere.
This is the theme of Randy Rainbow’s new video. Based on the classic doo-wop song, Mr. Sandman, the new video is entitled MR. BIDEN (Bring My Vaccine) – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody.
I love that Rainbow is staring to shift from the satirical criticism of you know who (which was and still is warranted) to a non-partisan perspective. If we are to be honest about the game of American politics, we must be open to the idea that all politicians, regardless affiliation should face public judgement when necessary. The idea that one side is flawless and the other side is completely wrong opens the door to mistrust, possible violence (as we saw on January 6th), and a country divided.
Satire is a beautiful thing. But it can also cross the line.
During the Weekend Update portion of last weekend’s Saturday Night Live, anchor Michael Che made a joke about Israel. To say that it did not go over well is an understatement.
The question I have to ask, is it satire or antisemitism?
I get that it was a joke. Weekend Update is not your serious local weeknight news. It is supposed to be funny and perhaps bordering on not exactly being 100% politically correct.
That being said, I can’t help but agree that it did have a slightly anti-Semitic undertone. My people have been persecuted and murdered because of the lies that have been told about us.
Unlike other countries (ahem, United States) on which the the rollout of the vaccine programs have been unnecessarily complicated or messy, the Israeli government got their shit together. As of February 4th, US News & World Report put out a story that all Israelis over the age of sixteen were able to get the vaccine. The important word in this headline is all. There was no mention of any specific group that was either pushed to the head of the line or denied access because of their religious or cultural background.
I’ve been a fan of SNL for more than twenty years, this program is usually the highlight of my weekend. I can usually laugh at anything. But this joke, I cannot and will never be able to laugh at.
The evidence in regards to controlling Covid-19 is obvious. Approximately half to a third of the population needs to be vaccinated (otherwise known as herd immunity) for the virus to lose it’s potency. The question is, what measure are governments around the world taking to stop it in its tracks?
While the United States is floundering in its attempt to get the shots into the arms of Americans, 20% of the Israeli population has received the vaccine as of last Wednesday.
Granted, Israel is a much smaller country in both population and size. That being said, it comes down to planning, coordination with the government at every level, and assistance of the medical industry. The problem in the United States is two fold. Thanks to you know who, the system that is supposed to transfer the vaccine from the federal government to state and local governments can only be described as a hot mess. The issue compounded by the American healthcare system, which has been problematic for many years.
Back in 1947, a smallpox outbreak hit New York City. Via a coordinated effort between the city and the Public Health Service, millions were vaccinated in less than a month. Only twelve people were infected and of that number, only two people lost their lives.
The fact is that it is possible to end this plague and return to some semblance of normalcy. But we can only do that if those in the halls of power work together.
There are millions of front line workers who need to be vaccinated to do their jobs and save American lives. These are the people who should be at the front of the line. The rest of us, especially those who downplay or deny the virus can wait a little bit. I would go as far to say that if you believe that it is complete hoax or it is nothing more than a bad flu, you should be at the back of line. That person (if their beliefs are genuine), might also refuse to take the vaccine, believing it to be unnecessary.
The fact that they jumped the line tells me that they are hypocrites. If the Senators genuinely believed their own rhetoric, not getting the vaccine would be an obvious choice. But because they got it, that tells me that they know it is real and they know how dangerous it is.
I am going to end this post with the following tweet, because it simply says it all.
We all know the toll that Covid-19 has taken on our economy.
The latest news coming out of NYC is that as of tomorrow, indoor dining in restaurants is once again banned.
Unfortunately, I have to agree with the ban. With Covid numbers rising across the country, it is the only way to try to gain some sort of control over the growing list of cases in the city.
I am fully aware that indoor dining is the only thing that is keeping a good number of restaurants open. However, given that the vaccine has yet to be administered and many refuse to follow the guidelines laid out by the CDC and the government, this is a necessary step to take until this second wave is over.
In times of crisis, making tough decisions are the norm. The last six months with Covid-19 has forced these decisions to be made both on the governmental level and the individual level.
In New York City, the hospitality and the restaurants industries have been devastated. Initially, there was only takeout and delivery allowed. Then the restaurants were allowed to open for outdoor dining only. But, the revenue coming in could not compare to what was previously made when customers were able to eat inside.
Anyone who lives in the Northeast of the United States knows that we do not have warm weather 365 days a year. Before we know it, winter will be here and outdoor dining will be impossible. But both the Mayor and the Governor refuse to allow restaurants to open for indoor dining, even with limitations.
I understand why the Mayor and the Governor are still refusing to allow restaurants to allow customers inside. New York and New York City especially has worked incredibly hard to reduce our overall Covid numbers. I am also completely aware of how dense the city is.
They claim that they are waiting for a vaccine. The problem is that it will likely not be available for the general public until the end of the year or early next year. This city cannot afford to wait that long.
There are two problems with this refusal. The first is that New Jersey and the rest of the state does allow some indoor dining. Diners who are eager to go out to eat (and sit inside) and unemployed hospitality employees will not stay within NYC’s borders. The second is that the restaurant industry is one of the economic backbones of the city. Without this institution, New York City will die a slow and painful financial death, with Covid-19 being the final nail in the coffin.