The news on the virus is getting very complicated to sort out. Once you are vaccinated, what can you do and with whom and when? What can we expect with new variants? A New York Times story today said there may be another surge in late spring, but:
Now the good news.
Despite the uncertainties, the experts predict that the last surge will subside in the United States sometime in the early summer. If the Biden administration can keep its promise to immunize every American adult by the end of the summer, the variants should be no match for the vaccines.
Combine vaccination with natural immunity and the human tendency to head outdoors as weather warms, and “it may not be exactly herd immunity, but maybe it’s sufficient to prevent any large outbreaks,” said Youyang Gu, an independent data scientist, who created some of the most prescient models of the pandemic.
Infections will continue to drop. More important, hospitalizations and deaths will fall to negligible levels — enough, hopefully, to reopen the country. “Sometimes people lose vision of the fact that vaccines prevent hospitalization and death, which is really actually what most people care about,” said Stefan Baral, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Mandavilli).
The recent Carry On post about Lent reminds me of other Good News. It may not be fashionable to talk about faith, but it’s important to recognize how central it has been for so many in getting through this time.
It is black history month. A new documentary on The Black Church points out that without the black church (and the work of women in the church) the civil rights movement would not have happened. Reading MLK’s biography, it is clear that faith was more than something he alluded to in speeches. It was the animating force in his work. His faith was not an add-on to his activism; his activism rose out of his faith.
It was the same with Gandhi. Gandhi’s goal in life was not to free India from British rule; it was “moksha,” oneness with God. Out of that came the conviction that Indians should have self-rule. He said, “To see the universal and all-pervading Spirit of Truth face to face one must be able to love the meanest of creation as oneself. And a man who aspires after that cannot afford to keep out of any field of life.” That is why he got involved in politics, he said. For both men, their faith told them that every person has dignity and value in God’s eyes. There should be no caste system, no class system, no people living in poverty or servitude.
Could they have fulfilled their roles without faith? Maybe, but it gave them strength in the difficult fight, it was the compass that kept them on course, it was what impelled them in the first place. Most of us have never faced a time of mass trauma like this before. It has changed everyone’s life. Two days ago, President Biden addressed the nation in a memorial service for the 500,000 people who have died from Covid. Half a million! He encouraged everyone to have hope, that better days are ahead, and said we would not forget those who had been lost. He also appears to draw strength from his faith.
We absolutely need vaccines and masks and hand washing and social distancing, but it’s also good to remember there is something else. As St. Exupery’s Little Prince said: “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”