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Feb 23, 2021

Sunday, Feb 28, 2021 - 02:25:08

I got vaccinated. What now?

I got vaccinated. What now?

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(CNN)The United States Covid-19 vaccination program is gaining steam. As of Tuesday, more than 40 million people have received the first dose, representing about 13% of the country. At the same time, national rates of new infection have decreased, presenting a real opportunity to control the pandemic.

Dr. Kent SepkowitzWith this progress, though, has come no small amount of consternation. A new set of daunting questions has arisen, the product of an increasing number of vaccines and vaccinees. Reasonably enough, people now want to know the specific dos and don'ts of daily living for the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.
    The nub is this: are we re-approaching the glory days of before this pandemic began or is the lockdown drag-out pod-life still necessary? And within this broad question are a million smaller questions: if you are two vaccines in, is double-masking still necessary? What about the 20-second hand wash? And all those pocket-friendly bottles of hand sanitizer -- can I toss them already? Despite being top of mind for so many, there is still no real guide for how to proceed most safely. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has addressed this a little, though their guidance has risen only to the level of a Frequently Asked Question response not their more common multi-page, multi-referenced tome. Other than side-stepping the need to quarantine after an exposure, the message to vaccinees basically is this: act like you have not been vaccinated at all.True, Dr Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to the President, has indicated that revised guidelines, which he believes "will be coming soon," may "relax the stringency ... when people have been vaccinated," but, presumably, these guidelines will not mandate specific behavior in every day-to-day decision. Read MoreContinued caution makes sense. Health experts are hamstrung by a complete lack of evidence-based information and are all too aware of the dangers created if they wing it and try to reconcile public clamoring to lighten it up against basic public health rules of the road. And attempts over the last six months to loosen things up in various states -- for example, easing restaurant restrictions or starting up college campus life -- have not gone well.The mystery of the flu-Covid twindemic that never happenedSo as a public service, I would like to give my view, as a vaccinated American, on life with (putative) immunity. Let me start by saying this: it is weird. I have about a month under my belt since the second vaccine and still experience a dizzying mix of guilt and delight. Note to fellow vaccinees about this topic: dealing with this juggling act interests absolutely no one who has not been vaccinated (but everyone who has). Here, then, is what daily life now feels like. Stated simply, every moment brings a small crisis, a gnawing personal decision arising from the exact same place: is it OK to sneak outside my old Covid-ified boundaries? Can I -- gasp -- cut a few (small, very small) corners and pretend however briefly that life once again resembles the workaday dullness of 2019, that shining year on the hill?Take, as an example, the experience of getting onto an elevator. At the start of the pandemic, this seemed a high-risk, Apollo 11 sort of dangerous blast-off moment. Now, however, it has become a test of will. Can I remove my mask ... while still in the elevator? No one will see me! What would happen if I did? And what about touching the elevator button not with my elbow but with a bare fingertip? Or what is the best plan for going to a grocery store? Extra masks? A scarf? Should I pay cash (requires receiving coins back) or credit card (Who knows where that machine has been?). Does my newly jazzed up immune system allow me to live a little? Do I dare eat a peach?For me, the answer is clear. Not yet. The best advice, alas, is what the CDC is pushing: continue to hunker down and keep on doing what you're doing. We shouldn't expect much relief from the uncertainty any time soon -- uncertainty, after all, has characterized the Covid-19 pandemic every day for the last 12 months. Early on, no one knew who was infected since few cities had a diagnostic test; no one knew how transmissible the virus was or how it spread; no one knew why it caused such sudden and severe worsening; no one knew how to treat the infection. These particular uncertainties were settled -- more or less -- but they quickly were followed by a new wave of uncertainty: how long does natural immunity last? How long does vaccine-induced immunity last? Will the current vaccines be effective against the ever-evolving tangle of new viral variants?And add to this the latest: when can we all return to business as usual? Viewed in a certain context, this graduation from one uncertainty to the next is a type of progress. We started with the most rudimentary -- what is happening? -- and now are debating sophisticated concerns about the underpinnings of durable viral immunity and whether spike proteins are the future of vaccinology. But the basic problem remains the same: no one knows what's ahead. Though unsettling, this is what happens when a completely new virus with completely new and unexpected epidemiology and an unexpected clinical spectrum is unleashed upon a non-immune global village. Get our free weekly newsletter

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      Yes, scientists and public health experts have tried their best to predict the days and weeks and months ahead, but these predictions have been wrong -- sometimes extremely wrong -- many times. It simply is not their fault. Predicting the unpredictable is a fool's game. Perhaps now is the moment, with the pandemic actually moving in a promising direction in the US, for us to accept that the best advice, the most well-considered guidelines from the smartest people, are only educated guesses. No matter what plays out going forward, it will be a surprise -- meaning that once again, we are on our own, unwitting and unwilling volunteers in a giant real-life experiment with minute-to-minute coverage but no final episode yet. For that, we may have to wait a good while longer.

      News Source: CNN

      Tags: the best advice the best advice health experts completely new immunity last how long public health the elevator the pandemic people one

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      The Buzzer: Overtime heroics and more from Saturday in the NHL

      At bicoastal Globes on Sunday, Borat could triumph This Trend Could Cause New Surge In COVID-19, Doctors Say © Getty Images NHL Three Stars from Saturday 1. Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins

      If any team must want the Penguins to trade Kris Letang — preferably out of their division — it might be the New York Islanders.

      Back on Feb. 20, Letang began his current point streak by scoring two goals vs. the Islanders. Remarkably, Letang was even more productive against the Islanders on Saturday. The talented-if-often-criticized defenseman scored two goals (scroll for some overtime heroics) plus an assist.

      The blueliner extended his point streak to four games (4G, 3A). Letang’s now at four goals and 10 assists for 14 points in 18 games.

      While you can’t gauge Letang or any defenseman’s value on offense alone, it’s hard to believe that he’s really one of the Penguins’ biggest problems. You’d think trading Letang would really only make sense if the Penguins planned on blowing things up.

      (Again, the Islanders might be nudging them on this one. Maybe to the point where they’re overplaying their hand.)

      2. Jack Campbell, Toronto Maple Leafs

      For fans of star vs. star action, it must have been disappointing that an injury kept Auston Matthews from facing Connor McDavid on Saturday. One might assume that such an omission might give the Oilers a pretty big advantage in the game itself.

      Impressively, the Maple Leafs banded together to shut down McDavid, handling him in one of the worst games number 97’s endured — from an individual standpoint — in some time.

      Only other time Connor McDavid has been minus-3 with no points and fewer than 2 shots? His fourth NHL game ever: Oct. 15, 2015. (He should be a terror on Monday.)

      — luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) February 28, 2021

      For all of the Oilers’ remaining flaws, they’ve shown they can win here and there even when McDavid’s ice-cold.

      Campbell & Co. made sure that didn’t happen on Saturday, however. In his first game back since Jan. 24, Campbell pitched a 30-save shutout. He’s now 3-0-0 on the season, and if he can stay healthy, might have an outside chance to push Frederik Andersen for starts. (The Maple Leafs maybe leaned too heavily on Andersen over the years, and it felt like it really started to show beginning in 2019-20.)

      Either way, this is feel-good stuff for the 11th pick of the 2010 NHL Draft. (If you forgot Campbell was a first-rounder … well, that’s pretty understandable.)

      3. Mikael Backlund, Calgary Flames

      Goodness, the Flames really needed this one after being embarrassed by the Senators on Friday.

      Backlund and the Flames responded in a big way to that Senators loss. In Backlund’s case, he scored a goal and two assists. Both of his assists were of the primary variety, with one even coming shorthanded.

      His overall stat line, and the Flames winning, helped Backlund get the edge over the likes of Timo Meier (two goals, one assist in a losing effort that nonetheless made Jordan Binnington very mad). Backlund scored those three points, generated a +4 rating, four shots on goal, and even went 13-7 on faceoffs to complete one of the better overall performances from Saturday in the NHL.

      Highlights of the night: OT winners from Letang, Dumba

      Talented defensemen supplied some impressive, timely goals on Saturday in the NHL.

      Most timely: Matt Dumba. The Wild defenseman made a great move to bury an OT-winner to beat the buzzer (and the Kings).

      Replay Video SETTINGS OFF HD HQ SD LO Skip Ad

      While Dumba takes the cake for buzzer-beating and moves, Kris Letang iced his three stars of Saturday in the NHL nod with a great bit of deception against Semyon Varlamov. Pretty nifty:

      Replay Video SETTINGS OFF HD HQ SD LO Skip Ad A curious moment from Saturday

      If you want a lowlight — or, let’s be honest, actually a comedy highlight — of Saturday in the NHL, enjoy Jordan Binnington losing his noodle. (But not losing his noodle enough to engage in an ill-advised fight with Devan Dubnyk.)

      The Coyotes didn’t have a good time against the Avalanche, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson was part of the problem.

      But for all of the times lacrosse-style skills translate to goals, what about clearing your zone? Granted, it netted an icing call, but still …

      Replay Video SETTINGS OFF HD HQ SD LO Skip Ad Saturday’s NHL scores

      Capitals 5, Devils 2

      Flames 6, Senators 3

      Flyers 3, Sabres 0

      Predators 2, Blue Jackets 1

      Penguins 4, Islanders 3 (OT)

      Lightning 5, Stars 0

      Hurricanes 4, Panthers 3 (SO)

      Maple Leafs 4, Oilers 0

      Red Wings 5, Blackhawks 3

      Wild 4, Kings 3 (OT)

      Avalanche 6, Coyotes 2

      Golden Knights 3, Ducks 2 (OT)

      Jets 2, Canadiens 1 (OT)

      Blues 7, Sharks 6

      More NHL News Contender or Pretender: Is it time to believe in the Oilers?

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