By Adina Bernstein
A few weeks ago, my best friend from college and her husband came for a visit. They live in upstate New York, near where we went to school. We’ve been friends for nearly 20 years. As much as I appreciate the conversations over social media and text, there is nothing like having a conversation in person. It was a lovely weekend that I will forever treasure.
Then the message popped into the text app on my phone the Tuesday after they returned home. My friend said that she had a fever. I was hoping that it was something else, but considering that the Delta variant is making its way across the country, I was naturally nervous. After a nerve-racking couple of days, she sent me the results. Both were negative. Just to be sure, I went to a local clinic to be tested myself. The rapid test came back as negative.
I’ve done everything right. I’ve been fully vaccinated since the spring. I always make sure that I have a mask in my bag when I leave the apartment. I wash my hands and use sanitizer frequently. I limit going out. And yet, there is still a chance that I could catch the virus.
What bothers me is that 99.9% of this was preventable. The last 18 months did not have to happen this way. The more than half a million Americans who lost their lives should be alive. The economy should not be in tatters and we should not be squabbling over masks and vaccines. But we are.
I consider myself to be lucky. I could have gotten sick, but I didn’t. Others have. According to a CNBC article published on August 10, the number of breakthrough cases is rising. Breakthrough cases are ones in which those who have been fully vaccinated become infected. On August 24, articles in the press said that a few months after the initial dosage, the Pfizer vaccine loses about 30 percent of its effectiveness. The reason is that the Delta variant is stronger than the initial virus, creating additional cases among those who thought that they were protected. This has led to the booster shot, which is recommended to be received eight months after the second Pfizer or Moderna dose was received.
Other people have not been so lucky. Just two weeks ago, a Texas couple, Lawrence and Lydia Rodriguez, both lost their lives to the virus, leaving four children under the age of twenty behind. Three out of their four children are of age to get the shot. In her last conversation with her sister, Mrs. Rodriguez made the following request: “Please make sure my kids get vaccinated”.
Up until the day they got sick, Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez were among the millions of Americans who had refused to get the vaccine. My heart breaks for this unnecessary loss and for their children who are now parentless.
Too many American families are grieving because of this virus. Too many American youngsters have lost a parent, grandparent, or other adult relation. The sooner we pull our heads out of the sand and realize that it doesn’t take much to defeat this disease, the better off our nation and our world will be.
Have you visited the Wall of Memories?
Adina Bernstein is a New York City born and bred writer, who like many writers, has a day job to pay the bills. She has been published in MovieBabble.com, How to be a Redhead, and The Mighty, among other publications. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram at Writergurlny. You can read more of her work on her blog https://writergurlny.wordpress.com/ and on her portfolio https://adinabernstein.contently.com/.