Getting shots against COVID-19 helps but won’t end the pandemic

Even with all shots, masks and social distance remains and could extend into 2022
A protest against masks in Hyde Park.

As of Monday morning, the Virginia Department of Health reports 3,123,190 residents of Virginia have received at least one of their two shots or the one dose of Johnson & Johnson 1-shot only.

Of that number, 1,133,834 are considered “fully vaccinated.” This means 24.2 % of the Commonwealth’s population has at least one dose.

In Floyd County, 6,162 of the county’s residents have received at least one shot and 2,518 of those are fully vaccinated. In other words, Virginia overall shows just under one fourth of the population has at least one shot and Floyd shows 41 % of our residents are at the one-shot level. Of those, 17.4 % are considered fully vaccinated. Both percentages are based on the county’s estimated 15,000 residents.

Wife Amy and I received our first shots last Wednesday and hope to get number two early next month.

Gov. Ralph Northam hopes to start relaxing some rules and restrictions in April, if the vaccinations stay on track and new cases, hospitalizations and deaths start to drop. That’s still a big “IF” as the infections and such ebb and flow and people start ignoring the use of masks and the practice of social distancing.

Around the country, some states are ignoring the advice of health experts and turn to politics to relax restrictions too quickly.

One of the common gripes we hear about masks is the requiring they be worn is, somehow, a “violation of my constitutional rights.” Some bitching comes from fellow motorcycle riders who must wear helmets if they ride in the Commonwealth.

Wife and I wear full-face helmets when we ride. If the law did not require helmets, we would still wear them. I’m alive today because I was wearing a good helmet and full leathers in a crash on the bottom of Bent Mountain in 2012.

A few years ago, I was riding with a group of Harley bikers on our way to Bike Week in Myrtle Beach, SC, for the Spring rally and the leader turned into the first rest stop after we crossed the North Carolina-South Carolina state line. Why? So they could pull off their helmets and stow them for the remainder of the ride. South Carolina doesn’t require helmets.

I kept mine one, which brought jeers from some. I didn’t care. My life is more important to me than the insults from idiots.

Personally, I don’t care if Virginia does or does not require a helmet law. I wear one for safety. While I may be ambivalent to helmet laws, I fully support the rules and regulations that require wearing a mask during a pandemic. The masks present the spreading of the virus to others.

Those who refuse to wear one become spreaders of a virus that kills.

Hardcore right-wingers say they won’t get the shots. Many of them also don’t wear masks. In my opinion, each of them are killers who roam freely among us and should be treated as such.