The latest omnipresent Facebook poll asks what purports to be a simple yes or no question: Do you personally know anyone who has had COVID-19?
Depending on who posted that poll, you probably know whether it’s meant to express skepticism or to educate those who run across it in their news feed.
Few of the people who respond in the affirmative offer a simple “yes.” Their responses tend to be emotional. And for good reason. COVID-19 is a frightening scourge running through entire families, hitting some fortunate ones like a common cold, others like a terrible flu and too many with a wallop that can leave them fighting for their lives. Or dead.
Most of us know someone who’s struggled against COVID-19.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 35 million positive cases have been reported in the United States as of Aug. 4, with an average of 89,977 new cases a day.
The situation is only worsening as the highly contagious Delta variant continues to spread.
During a press conference Tuesday, Aug. 10, the Louisville Metro Health Department and Mayor Greg Fischer said cases have increased so sharply in the last week, that Jefferson County is now on “red alert” for community spread.
“We are back at a point we deeply hoped to avoid, but knew was possible,” the mayor said. “Our city’s children who are returning to school this week are depending on us to reverse this trend of rising cases. No one wants the disruption of an outbreak in a school building.”
The mayor went on to point out that we have the capacity to put an end to it.
“Unlike previous spikes, we now have a tool that is safe and highly effective at stopping serious infections and death from this virus. Get vaccinated,” he said.
The press release noted that Louisville Metro saw 1,916 new cases in the previous week. On the positive side, 58.2% of area residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 50.6% have completed the vaccine requirements.
That’s a good start, but it’s not nearly enough.
Children under age 12 and others who aren’t able to take the vaccine are relying on everyone else to protect them from this serious disease.
Some children are missing the first day of school this week because they’re sick.
At least one local child — an 8-year-old infected with the virus — has been isolated from her family, sick and alone in a bedroom for 10 days, hoping to protect a newborn sibling and the rest of her family from the virus.
This courageous child shouldn’t have to struggle alone. We should have the courage to protect her by getting vaccinated and stopping the spread of this virus, just as we have routinely been vaccinated to stop other diseases that threatened our communities.
The Catholic Church is clear on the subject: Taking a COVID-19 vaccine is the good and charitable thing to do. In fact, according to the Vatican’s guidance on vaccination, people have a moral obligation to protect the life and health of those around them.
If the safety of the vaccine is a concern, reach out to a trusted medical professional for advice. It’s important to make informed decisions.
But please do so quickly. Time is of the essence.