As we passed the one-year anniversary of restrictions in the U.S. due to the COVID-19 pandemic many of us wondered: when will this end? Fortunately, vaccines continue being rolled out further. And, Florida just announced a program to help homebound seniors get vaccinated*.
President Biden recently is aiming for the country to begin to find a degree of normalcy and begin to move on from the coronavirus pandemic by the July Fourth holiday. Biden said meeting a goal of small family gatherings "will make this Independence Day truly special." It would "not only mark our independence as a nation, but mark our independence from this virus."
*Seniors and/or their caregivers in FL can sign up to receive a COVID 19 vaccine in their home by sending their request by email to: HomeboundVaccine@em.myflorida.com
COVID-19 Ending vs. Being Manageable
Almost 90% of health professionals responding to a Nature survey think that the coronavirus will become endemic. This means that it will continue to circulate in pockets of the global population for years to come.
However, failure to eradicate the virus does not mean things will remain as they’ve been this past year. The future will depend on the immunity people acquire through infection or vaccination. It will also depend on how the virus evolves. Flu and the four human coronaviruses that cause common colds are also endemic. Yet, a combination of annual vaccines and acquired immunity keep them manageable. Therefore, societies manage the seasonal deaths and illnesses they bring without requiring activity restrictions.
The State of COVID-19 Vaccinations
President Biden projects that all Americans will be eligible to get a vaccine by May 1st. Not everyone will be able to get a vaccine by that date, he said, but everyone will be able to get in line by then. The administration will be directing states, tribes and territories to make all adults eligible by then.
As part of this expansion, the White House will make shots available at more pharmacies and mass vaccination centers. Additionally, Biden hopes to increase the number of vaccinators. He plans to broaden the pool of those qualified to give shots to include dentists, paramedics, veterinarians, medical students and others. As many of you have experienced, the rollout has varied widely between different states and even counties. Hopefully, these directives will lead to more availability in areas where things have been slow.
Things are changing regularly. So if you have not been able to get vaccinated yet, check with your county health department. Here is information on COVID-19 vaccination in Pinellas County. We can all pitch in to help older and at-risk friends, family members, and neighbors who might have difficulty navigating the systems or getting to vaccine sites.
Continued Precautions: Staying Healthy
Experts stress that we should continue being cautious. They don’t advise gathering in large groups anytime in the near future. Various countries have identified new COVID-19 variants And, we will continue to learn more about the longer-term effectiveness of vaccines. For now, not enough people are fully vaccinated to drop precautions. Some places are moving much slower with vaccinations. Given these factors, international travel may continue to be restricted for some time.
The CDC has not changed its guidance on travel. They continue to recommend caution in travel and other activities like indoor dining, even for fully-vaccinated individuals. Experts warn that the numbers of new cases are still not where they’d like them to be. Therefore, people should not let their guard down. But, there is “light at the end of the tunnel” as more people get vaccinated.
Unfortunately, we are all weary of restrictions and anxious to return to more social activities. But, this is just the time to stay cautious as we are potentially in the “home stretch”. Things will be much safer once most Americans can get vaccinated. With increasing opportunities for vaccination, there are strong possibilities of some return to normalcy soon.
Good News for Family Visits
The CDC did offer a ray of hope for grandparents who haven’t seen family members in many months. They stated that visits between fully vaccinated people and unvaccinated people are okay as long as nobody is at high risk for severe infection.
And, of course, many of us are feeling relief that older and at-risk family members have been able to get vaccinated and offered this protection. Hopefully, we will all begin to feel some worries being lifted.
Focus on Health
Obesity and cardiovascular conditions seemed to play a role in most severe COVID-19. These same conditions put us at risk of hospitalization and health crises. And, we know lifestyle factors play a big role in mitigating them. However, the pandemic made maintaining healthy routines even more challenging. Many of us have been stressed. And, we may have been unable to participate in normal activities. Thus, we developed even more sedentary lifestyles.
Now is a good time to focus on healthy habits. We know this can be especially hard for our older clients. But, we are here to help! EasyLiving offers health care management services and in-home support for a healthy lifestyle. Our Safe at Home Program can help you monitor your conditions and keep on track with follow-up care. And, our care partners can prepare nutritious meals and help you stay active and safe.