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COVID-19: Day 356

https://xkcd.com/2430/

One year ago today Microsoft sent us home for at least “three weeks.” Little did we know at the time how serious and life-changing this pandemic would be. So why does it say day 356 at the top of this post? Elijah’s school didn’t start staying home for a bit longer and when his school closed, it really set in that something serious was happening so I used that as the start date for our family. As scary and confusing as it was, it almost feels like an easier part of the pandemic because we were more united.

So here we are “one year” later and two vaccines are getting spread around the United States faster than expected. About 8% of all people in Washington state have been fully vaccinated. Those two vaccine pipelines are in full swing, but now there’s a third joining the mix from Johnson & Johnson. This one has some advantages in that it can be stored for months at refrigerator temps and it only involves one shot. The downside is that production is just starting up on that so it won’t give an immediate big boost to the numbers, but pharma giant Merck announced that they are going to devote two entire plants to producing J&J’s vaccine. I love the cooperation and it gives me more hope that my family will be vaccinated by the end of the year.

The other big challenge for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is, surprise surprise, public perception. The J&J vaccine is “85% protective against the most severe COVID-19 and 66% effective in moderate cases.” (source) So why would the FDA approve it if the other vaccines are 95 and 98% effective? The problem is that the numbers are difficult to compare because they were tested against different strains of the virus. We don’t have stats for the efficacy of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines against the current strains.

Maybe we will need additional shots or new vaccines in the future, but hopefully these early vaccines will be enough to let us open more businesses, ditch the masks, and socialize again. None of it will be “normal” and the change will be gradual but it feels like maybe we’re through the highest death rates, at least in the first world countries.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, and do not let it be afraid.

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