Covid-19 has been with us for more than a year now, and every single one of us, no matter how much we have tried to fight it, has had to make changes in how they live, work, and act. This has led to a lot of difficult moments for many of us, some more than others, as we struggled with seeing our friends and family sick, and not being able to be there for one another in our times of need. For a long time, we didn’t know when this crisis was going to end, but then the vaccine arrived, and hope arrived with it. The vaccine, or vaccines as there are multiple different versions that have proven effective, have flooded the market and are now in almost every pharmaceutical store and medical center, all for free and many, many people have been happy to have taken advantage of the offer. We have seen record numbers of people getting vaccinated, leading up to now. Now there is a new threat, not just peeking over the horizon, but already barreling through, taking over from the original coronavirus. The Delta variant was the strongest contender for the next wave when it was discovered in late 2020 in India, but it was only one of several possible variants. Now it is the leading strain of coronavirus in the U.S. and in the neighborhoods and areas without effective vaccine numbers, has been running rampant.
To understand how we could go from so hopeful to now having an entirely new strain of coronavirus among us, you must understand that vaccine numbers are not evenly distributed across the country, and in actuality, several areas have much lower amounts of vaccinated people per capita than others. Imagine the vaccine as a net, and these spots are holes in the net. We can catch most strains and variants, stopping them before they gain traction and can cause large risks, but if a strain has already passed through one of the holes in the net, those of us who won’t or can’t become vaccinated are much more vulnerable. These hot spots are pocketed and for the most part isolated from larger cities, but the loss of human life and possibility of further infection is not a laughing matter, nor something that can be ignored. The vaccine is not as effective with this variant as it is with the original, so that means that we have to be extra cautious, work out the best strategies and pay attention to the news whenever possible. And while the vaccine is not perfect, nor completely effective, it is still the best option when it comes to protecting oneself and one’s family, and if you have not yet received it, you should set up your appointment as soon as possible.
There are two possibilities for the future right now, as far as the virus is concerned. Either we can return to the isolation and quarantine procedures that we have had to put up with over the past year, likely because Delta or another variant has left our current vaccine useless enough to go back to the drawing board, or we may have to accept the fact that Covid, once controlled to an acceptable level, will be like the flu, and we may need to receive boosters and updated vaccine doses infrequently, but still fairly regularly. Neither option seems enjoyable, but unless we can vaccinate enough people around the world to crush any chance of new strains and variants, we will have to deal with a new type of coronavirus with alarming regularity.