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Letter to the Editor

Still need to keep the pedal to the metal fighting COVID

Don’t throw away your masks or plan a large indoor celebratory get together yet. Despite the fact that we are finally making good progress with the vaccination program, there are still signs that we are not entirely out of the woods. Dr. Shrugi Gohil, an infectious disease doctor at UCI Medical Center, advises that “the next four weeks to six weeks will tell.” 

Before elaborating on the need to be realistic about our recovery, we should pause to give reverence to the people who played a role in getting the COVID vaccines developed at breakneck speed. If you are religiously inclined, you might think of it as a miracle. When I was complaining recently about some minor side effects that questionably could be related to the vaccine, one of my doctors reminded me of what an unprecedented accomplishment the coronavirus vaccines were. 

It inspires optimism to see the number of people being vaccinated. Even some of my friends and relatives who were once very skeptical are getting the vaccines. Also, the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine is now available and will speed vaccinations up even more.

Two big challenges in the coming weeks will be to see what role the new variants will play, particularly the California and UK variety. And it will be important to observe how well our overworked hospital and care home staffs can continue to operate under such stressful and unprecedented physical conditions.

Another UCI epidemiologist and public health doctor says that he guarantees that there will be a third wave in Orange County, so people need to get vaccinated as rapidly as possible. And it is important to not get so optimistic that we stop using our masks and keeping social distances. We need to move ahead cautiously.

Although statistics are brighter on the horizon, there are still some sobering ones to consider. There have been close to 5,000 COVID deaths in Orange County, a figure which surpasses the annual death toll of cancer and heart disease.

Those skeptics who have not been able to buy into the serious nature of the life-threatening foe we are addressing, might be able to get some inspiration from one of history’s greatest minds, the physician and humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, who wrote in one of his books that “Ethics is nothing other than Reverence for Life.”

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach