“If a vaccine is developed that is 50% effective in preventing Covid, it would still be licensed. Of course, we would like a higher degree of effectiveness, but as with the flu vaccine, 50% percent is better than zero. A Covid vaccine probably won’t be anywhere near as effective as the childhood vaccines we’re familiar with.”

Washington Post, Sept. 23, 2020

I got my flu shot Thursday and somehow, I don’t feel all that protected this season. If I suddenly felt flu symptoms and found out it didn’t work and the seasonal flu was all I had, I would be relieved. It’s strange times.

I feel confident that a politically promised COVID vaccine by November is about as likely as my winning the Lottery. And what if somehow miraculously a vaccine were rushed years ahead of the last vaccine that was developed from scratch, I must consider if I would be the guinea pig to take it.

Of course, President Trump allegedly had COVID and somehow miraulously seemed to overcome it in just hours. The conspiracy theorists are working overtime on that one. And somehow after he reported he was over it with his usual grace and humility he was kind of obnoxious about the whole ordeal.

Two days ago, in a National Geographic article I read that currently there are 19 vaccines in various stages of development. Some are obviously closer than others. One recently had clinical trials stopped when an unexpected illness occurred. Johnson and Johnson did not specify what the illness was but for now, they are stopping the trials.

So where are we now left as we enter the usual peak flu season? I suspect people much smarter than I am and with considerably more information and expertise are holding their collective breath.

I was reviewing an article in Nature magazine exploring the “predictions” for COVID. The article was published on Aug. 5, 2020. It reads like a Stephen King novel. The summarization of the opening paragraph states in a very serious tone that it is June 2021. The world has been in pandemic mode for a year-and-a-half. An estimated 250 million people have been affected and 1.75 million are dead.

Another doomsday prediction in that same article is that a vaccine offering 6 months of protection was slowed due to distribution issues worldwide.

Another computer model projection story offered up 14 completely different computer models for future projections both in the U.S. and worldwide.

After reading through various projections and computer models I can surmise one thing to believe is fact. Nowhere have I read as optimistic a future for COVID as President Trump’s predictions. Of course, nobody involved in any of the other projections is up for election on the first Tuesday in November.

To try at being non-partisan I also feel like Joe Biden’s optimism if he is elected is just as likely not credible in the difference he can make. In other words — for the foreseeable future we seem to be almost for sure living in a continued COVID world for some period between months and years.

And just when I thought things were bleak enough, I read the World Health Organization’s assessment back in May of 2020 to which I cannot find a change of opinion published anywhere: “This virus may never go away!”

I looked up on the World Health Organization website Thursday the most recent numbers worldwide: 336,515 new cases, 38,394,169 total confirmed cases since it all began, and 1,080,047 deaths globally. According to a chart on The Guardian website, America is among the top in most categories. While we trailed India as of Oct. 14 in total cases and new cases in the last two weeks, and COVID deaths in the last two weeks, we remained number 1 in total deaths with India having a total of 111,266 deaths and the United States with 216,872 fatalities.

Certainly, this is no time to let your guard or mask down. The most upbeat prediction I could find was from Dr. Anthony Fauci, stating even if there is a vaccine available by the end of this year, it will be somewhere between mid-year 2021 and the end of next year before there is a return to normalcy.

What Dr Fauci never explains in his prediction is what “normalcy” will be post COVID. Japan has for years been a mask-wearing country during flu or allergy season. Not surprisingly Japan’s coronavirus numbers are relatively low in comparison.

In my humble opinion with all we know and have experienced this calendar year, we really have no possible way to make accurate predictions regarding the future and COVID. Since so many of any assumptions are based on human behavior and there are plenty of YouTube videos showing angry people negatively responding to wearing masks in public places, well, there’s your sign!

I have been getting the flu shot for decades now. I have only gotten what I thought was the flu once and that was a year where they guessed wrong as far as the vaccine and the string of flu that hit. I really don’t see this year’s flu shot as anything except for if I catch COVID, that hopefully will not be an underlying condition to make things worse.

Timing is everything in life. I turn 65 this weekend and now officially have joined a high-risk group! Happy Birthday to me.

Lindon Dodd is a freelance writer who can be reached at lindon.dodd@hotmail.com.

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