March will mark the one year anniversary of when things really changed in the United States from the COVID-19 virus. It appears that the return to normalcy will still take some time.
We have learned to live with masks and frequent hand washing. We social distance but COVID-19 continues to spread. At the time of this writing, in the United States we are closing in on 28,000,000 cases and almost 500,000 deaths. I’ve had the virus myself, know many others who have had it and also know some who have died due to the virus.
Today I heard after taking the first 6 months of 2020 into account, that life expectancy in the United State has been reduced by one year to 77.8 years, the lowest since 2006. Life expectancy for African Americans dropped by 2.7 years to 72 years, the lowest since 2001.
African Americans are hospitalized with COVID-19 at 2.9 times the rate of white Americans and die at 1.9 time the rate according to CDC data.
I understand that some people may be concerned about getting vaccinated now that COVID-19 vaccines are available in the United States. I know there is a disparity in distribution of the vaccine, but I also know some African Americans that are choosing not to take the vaccine. This is especially concerning since we are at higher risk.
I would like to share some fact about the vaccine from the CDC website to help encourage everyone to get it:
None of the COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 so a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.
All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19.
All COVID-19 vaccines that are in development are being carefully evaluated in clinical trials and are authorized or approved only if they make it substantially less likely you’ll get COVID-19.
Experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.
Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you.
COVID-19 can have serious, life threatening complications, and there is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you. And if you get sick, you could spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you.
I have a constituent that suffers from severe allergies and cannot take the vaccine. She prays that everyone that can get it does which will help protect her. If you don’t care about getting the vaccine for yourself, consider getting it to protect those around you who could be high risk.
Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools we have available. If we want to return to normal life, we all have to do our part.