Will Sutton: COVID is still here. Best to get boosted. And, er, mask?

Will Sutton: COVID is still here. Best to get boosted. And, er, mask?
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I know this will burst some people’s bubbles, but the COVID-19 pandemic is not over.

We all want it to be over, but we still have a worldwide pandemic. And yes, that includes Louisiana.

What’s over is the public health emergency. COVID has become more of a private matter — with public implications.

Dastardly Rudolph N. Coronavirus, AKA Rudy Rona, made an unexpected search-and-destroy mission unlike anything we’ve seen. From early 2020 until just recently, Rona has been the cause of far too many hospital stays and deaths.

According to the World Health Organization, as of July 5, the world has seen more than 767.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 6.9 million deaths from the virus.

In the United States, we have had more than 103.4 million COVID cases and more than 1.1 million deaths — an outsized number considering Americans comprise only 4.25% of the world’s population.

In Louisiana, we’ve had more than 1.6 million COVID cases and more than 19,000 deaths.

This summer is nothing like our most challenging days of the pandemic. According to the Louisiana Department of Health, our COVID-related hospitalizations peaked at 3,022 on Aug. 17, 2021.

Some good news: The most recent data shows we hit the lowest number of pandemic-related hospitalizations — 50 — on June 25.

And on April 19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention started allowing more flexibility in terms of accessing the lifesaving COVID vaccines. People with higher risks, including obesity, can get more virus vaccines. So can those who are immunocompromised. The CDC has said obesity increases the risk of more severe illness when someone catches COVID. 

I’m over 65 and overweight, though I’m down about 20 pounds with more to lose.

There, I said it. I’m on the record. Hold me accountable. The weight I can lose. The age I cannot.

I was already vaccinated, but recently I opted for additional protection. After getting the “basic” vaccines, I got the booster as soon as I could. Then I got the second booster.

For whatever reason, likely tiring of the pandemic like so many others, I delayed getting the bivalent booster. Finally, after reading more about how much it helps, I made an appointment and got the jab.

Louisiana has roughly 4.58 million people. Slightly more than 361,200 of us have opted to get the bivalent doses to help ward off Rudy Rona. I’m happy to be in that number. I’m one of the 186,400-plus who are 65 and older who have rolled up our sleeves for it.

The CDC will determine what’s next with vaccines and boosters this fall, after some serious conversations, discussions and debates. I’m all for an annual COVID vaccine so I can plan for it — just as I plan for my autumn flu shot.

Meanwhile, as we await the updated guidance, the best thing we can do is heed our doctors’ advice in order to avoid quarantining at home, hospitalization or, worse, death.

I know this whole COVID thing has been a divisive matter for families, friends, co-workers — all Americans. Having gotten this far, I hope more of us will consider our own health and the health of others, even if the pandemic is more of a private matter and not a public health emergency right now.

If you’re wondering whether you’re sufficiently immunized after the first and only vaccine or with the first two jabs, depending on which vaccine you decided to allow in your body, the answer is no. The early days of the vaccine helped cover us against the original COVID-19 virus strain, but that’s about it.

As the virus evolved, subvariants cleverly figured out a way around the initial vaccines. The “bivalent” booster provides protection against the original COVID-19 strain and the Omicron subvariants BA4 and VBA5, two of those that caught a lot of us off guard and knocked down even some of us who had been “fully” vaccinated. 

As you experience summer, be sure to get outdoors as much as possible. I know that indoor A/C feels good with these scorching hot temperatures, but outdoor air reduces the likelihood of transmission.

I haven’t consistently worn a face mask for months. Though I’m vaccinated, boosted and boosted and boosted, I put one on recently. The science I read shows that masking helps prevent the spread of COVID, RVS, influenza and other respiratory diseases.

I won’t be wearing one daily because I’ve got additional protection. But I might mask up again in tight spaces with people I don’t know.

Think about doing the same.


About Mary Weyand 11096 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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