Opinion: Column: Trip, and Hopefully Not a Fall

Having recently returned from a driving sojourn through the South, with stops and stays in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida, visiting four sets of friends in those three states, I can say with certainty that wearing masks, social distancing and common sense consideration for your fellow citizen were not nearly so accepted as we had hoped. Though we didn't exactly mingle with the masses, we were, nonetheless, in unchartered territory. As such, my wife and I will be getting Covid tests after a week or so of being at home. Though still symptom-free, it seems prudent under the very unique circumstances in which the world finds itself that we not wait too much longer. Time is very likely of the essence.

As a precaution – and courtesy to our Southern hosts, we both got tested before our trip, and with negative results, off we drove with one less concern. Now we could say with certainty that we had acted respectfully and with other people's prospective health in mind. Nevertheless, it was hardly a guarantee that we would remain Covid-free. After all, it was only a test. It was not an inoculation. Speaking of which, as a cancer patient with a compromised immune system, I imagine I'm likely to get my two shots sooner rather than later. But what about my wife, Dina? She raised an interesting question. Though she's not in any of the categories of early shot recipients, she is however living with someone who is: me. Moreover, I don't suppose it would be to my advantage living in the same household/sleeping in the same bed/caring for a Covid-positive person: my wife, even after receiving my shot. Data for that situation likely doesn't exist yet. I don't imagine it's akin to playing with fire – for me, more likely like playing with embers. Still, there seems to exist a risk, perhaps one that's been considered in the hierarchy/schedule of "inoculees." In summary, will family members of high-risk Covid 19 recipients receive their vaccinations earlier on in the schedule than they might otherwise have been eligible? Or is the demand too great, given the worldwide pandemic, which I imagine it is.

If the plan is to minimize the risk for those most at risk, how do you accomplish that while leaving those closest (literally and figuratively) to them unprotected? I'm not asking for special treatment or dispensation from the Pope (has he gotten his shot?), I'm just wondering. Granted, there's not an unlimited supply – on or off the shelves, of vaccines, but there does seem to be nearly unlimited numbers of people who need to be vaccinated to accomplish a sort of world-wide herd-type immunity. That being said, if other people living in the home of an individual qualified/fortunate to receive a shot or two, are not inoculated as well, will it in fact enable the virus to move on, so to speak and find some other host susceptible enough to keep the virus straining? Will the proximity of other non-inoculated people defeat the purpose of getting the tier ones and twos inoculated? (I sound like Carrie Bradshaw [Sarah Jessica Parker] from "Sex and the CIty" sounding out one of her columns.)

I don't mean to be paranoid; I'm just wondering/theorizing if my fear is at all founded in reality or am I just cruising for a verbal bruising? I'm also curious if there's any discretion in the recipient process. Presumably, there are lots of circumstances/patients like me where the cancer patients' health and welfare – to varying degrees, are dependent on the health of people (family, friends or caregivers) entrusted to care for them. Giving the vaccine to the patient but denying it for the people responsible for their wellbeing seems counterproductive – or short-sighted. I may very well be inoculated against Covid in the not too distant future, but if I don't receive the care and feeding I need, I may survive Covid but still die from my underlying disease: cancer. I understand there's no perfect solution at present. But it's the future I'm worried about.

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