“We have never seen anything like this before.”

I recently watched a podcast about Covid-19 and the vaccines that have been developed to fight it. The scientist who presented it, a virologist from Vanderbilt University, was very blunt about this virus strain. The world had never seen anything quite like this before. (Even during the so-called Spanish Flu of 1919). Here are some of my thoughts about what is happening:

  1. There is no secret that when we have a holiday, the infection rate spikes. The Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and now Christmas and New Years have all caused upticks in viral infections. The worst offender, as far as St. Louis County was concerned, was Halloween. The positivity rate was 10.4 on All Saints’ Day and then it jumped to 21.9 just two weeks later. Human nature being what it is, this makes sense. We had been distant since March (St. Patrick’s Day was a wash.) and so people wanted to get together. (Not saying it is right, just that, it is what it is.)
  2. We will be wearing masks for a while. If you are an anti-masker (and you really shouldn’t be), I got some bad news for you: masking is not go- ing away with the advent of vaccines. Someone could be vaccinated and still be able to spread the virus. So, don’t throw away your masks quite yet. We will also be livestreaming long into the future, possible from now
  3. I am going to get the vaccine as soon as it is available to me. There is a notion that this vaccine has been rushed into development and therefore it may be unsafe. This is not true. Scientists have been working on this for a long time. They have known that coronaviruses exist and may be a problem for years. After SARS-CoV-2 was discovered, it was only three days until they were able to figure out how to stop it. It was then that the development and blind test of the vaccines were begun. Normally a 60% effec- tiveness rate would be great. The new vaccines have a 95% effectiveness rate.

And, in case you are wondering, the Church has given its OK to the vaccine.

Finally, it is important to discern what God is saying to us in the midst of all of this. I do not take gathering for Mass for granted any- more. Our senior citizens and those with pre-existing conditions have become more precious to me. I think I enjoy our school students more. I am awed by doctors, nurses, scientists and researchers, teachers and first responders. And most of all, SARS-CoV-2 has taught me to appreciate the gift of life. I said it before and I will saying it again, if this hasn’t changed you, if you have not learned anything, if your attitude hasn’t been altered, you are doing it all wrong.

Fr. Kevin

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