With the expected arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine in the coming weeks, it is critical to still follow the social distance guidelines and wear a mask covering to further improve the state of the global pandemic and preserve the safety of the public.
Although the vaccine shows that hope is on the horizon, it will not completely terminate the dangers of COVID-19 in a matter of days, weeks or even months. California has a total of more than 1.45 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 20,463 deaths as of Thursday, with 475,271 cases and 8,075 deaths in Los Angeles County alone.
Health officials had warned of a potential surge in cases after Thanksgiving gatherings, and they predict another spike for the upcoming December holidays. However, the vaccine does shed a little hope in finding a permanent solution to the increasing number of cases.
On Dec. 1, the U.S Food and Drug Administration released its first analysis of data from Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine clinical trials. Although there were no safety concerns recorded in these clinical trials, some participants did experience mild to moderate symptoms of fever, fatigue, headache, and muscle and joint pain, according to the analysis.
If the FDA proceeds with the vaccine, which could happen as soon as next week, it would first be distributed to health care workers and staff and residents of long-term care facilities. Furthermore, the U.S government expects to have 40 million doses of coronavirus vaccines by the end of the year, according to American Association of Retired Persons. This would mean that 20 million people would receive the vaccination, since a full dose requires two shots given a month apart.
The fast-approaching arrival of the vaccine is a huge step forward to ending this deadly disease that has overcome all our lives, but as a society we must commit to continuing to do our part. This vaccine is not a miraculous cure that will end the pandemic overnight, so it is critical to continue strict adherence to the current guidelines well into 2021.
Washing and sanitizing our hands repeatedly, keeping a minimum of six feet apart, and wearing a mask when leaving the house are all great steps to continue moving forward, but it does not stop there. Public spaces, like bars and restaurants, are some of the most popular places where COVID-19 cases reside. Because these places are sites of gathering, even if it is outdoors, they have a responsibility to stay closed or limit the number of customers at their respective locations as much as they can.
Gyms have also taken the extra precaution of closing their indoor workout facilities and moving all equipment outside instead. However, even with this precaution, customers should still ensure that they maintain social distancing and wear masks. A small inconvenience could go a long way to save lives.
While we wait to see what changes the vaccine will bring, there are many decisions we can take that can either help save millions of lives or lose them. As a society, we must push ourselves to strictly follow the Los Angeles County safety guidelines for the sake of our own lives and of others as well. We cannot get complacent and rush a return to “normalcy” before it is completely safe.