2.016 walk, realizing, magazine

Friday 12/19/2020

After a relaxing start to give the outside temp a chance to get over 45, I walked the route.

During my walk I was realizing, thing by thing, all the things I will be able to do after the second shot of vaccine. Yesterday afternoon I realized it meant I could go back to volunteering at FOPAL. (Although, today, it dawned on me, I will never be able to do some of the things I did there, because I have a lifetime ban on lifting more than 20 pounds! Which means, banker’s boxes full of books that I used to sling around all the time, are off limits to me. It would be playing Russian roulette with my aorta. This will make a significant difference to how I work at FOPAL.)

Today I began to realize all the other things that I’m not doing, just because I cannot accept the risk of bringing the virus back into Channing House. Truly, I don’t worry very much about catching the virus myself. I’m basically healthy, I take mass quantities of vitamin D, etc. Maybe I should worry about the personal effects; after all, it could kill me. But honestly, from the beginning my top concern has always been that I do not want to be the asshole that brings the virus to the 6th floor of Channing House. Not least because several of my neighbors are in just the health condition that it would snuff them like candles. So I have not been going to grocery stores, not going to plant nurseries, not getting my teeth cleaned… avoiding all the public places and unnecessary exposure. (I still regret going to that hobby shop a couple of months ago, although it worked out fine.)

Even after the full dose of the vaccine, I understand I will still be masking up and distancing. But just the same, I will be able to go into Piazza’s grocery, or Ace Hardware, or Palo Alto Dentistry any damn time and as often I please (or finally go get that goddamned colonoscopy) and not worry in the slightest about contracting the virus and bringing it back. February is going to be Freedom month.

In Rhonda’s open meeting the subject was almost entirely the vaccine. We are still told by the CVS organization that we will have a clinic on the 28th or the 29th. Yes, they will have nurses and be ready to deal with anaphylactic shock. There were a lot of questions about the consent form which is confusing as hell. I had messed mine up and clearly others were having trouble as well.

There is still a lot unknown about the vaccine. I am struggling with probabilities. It’s 95% effective, figured as follows: in the Phase 3 trial they gave it to half of 42,000 people. There were 170 cases of COVID in that group: 162 in the control group, 8 cases among the 21,000 people who got the real stuff (and none had serious illness). Eight is about 5% of 172, ergo, 95% effective.

But 95% isn’t 100%, so there is still some possibility of getting the disease (mind you, the annual flu vaccine is typically 70% or less), and it is not known at this point, whether, or how well, you could transmit the disease if you, after vaccination, caught it. Hence you keep masking and distancing. Life won’t really get normal until so many people have been vaccinated (or have had the disease) that transmission basically stops, and the disease becomes uncommon.

At this point, with widespread infection moving around in the general community, the vaccinated person has reduced his or her personal risk by 95%, but still has to worry about catching it and passing it on.

So around Feb. 1, when I’ve had both doses, plus two weeks after the second to develop full immunity, I can go, masked and distanced, into relatively safe places, like the grocery store, nursery, or FOPAL — places where precautions are being taken and protocols observed. Even if there was a contagious person in such a place, I’d be very unlikely to pick it up.

But I would not feel free to eat at an indoor restaurant, mask off. Or join a gathering where people are eating, drinking, chatting with masks off. Not while the community transmission rate is high. That kind of thing will have to wait for February 2022, when the majority of people have had the vaccine and transmission is rare.

Today they released the winter edition of Scribble and Sketch, our literary magazine. I have a piece in it, one I wrote for the Writers’ group, about this blog and how it came to be. Will anybody pick up the hint and come over to take a look? If so, hi! But I bet nobody will. They’d say, well, how do I find it? But I put the domain name right in the story: how pleased I was to find that Codgerville.net was available. But people aren’t used to thinking of a domain name as a live address.

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