The comments and opinions in this feature are those of the author and not necessarily those of NightMoves and AAN
This week I just wanted to offer up my thoughts and comments about this past year plus and how we have managed through it. Here we are in the third month of the new year 2021and it looks like there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel. These past twelve to fourteen months have been tough on everyone regardless of where you live in the U.S.
Ten months ago getting a vaccine ready to fight this virus seemed like a very long shot and would take a couple of years, or longer, to develop and get approved. But thanks to the insistence of the previous administration everything was put on a fast track to get a vaccine done as the number of cases and deaths continued to rise all over the country. Now, less than a year later we have not one, but three vaccines, with two more on the way. Shots are being given to those most vulnerable, and even with all the confusion about testing, vaccine sites, long lines and other things like un foreseen winter storms and more slowing the process, it is working. Maybe not as fast as we would like but just think where we would be now had these vaccines not come along so quickly. Every state seems to be handling it in a different way, but the bottom line is that the work is getting done and the vaccine is helping to beat this virus.
As for here in Florida I am totally in disagreement with Governor De Santis and who should get the shots. Biden wants every single teacher and school staff member in the U.S. to get the vaccine by the end of March. However, De Santis has put an age limit of 50 and over on teachers and staff, police and firefighters to get the vaccine and that is 1000% wrong. I don’t care what their age is – 23, 33, 43 or 53 they need to get that vaccine shot, no ifs ands or buts. Hopefully De Santis will rethink that and change it with no age restriction. Just as nurses, doctors, EMTs, etc. put their lives on the line every day, so do police, firefighters and teachers. There is absolutely no reason they should be discriminated against because of age when it comes to this vaccine
The fact is the numbers continue to go down in new cases, hospitalizations and deaths nationwide. Yes, it is a very good sign that the curve may be getting flattened, but we still a long way to go and not out of the woods yet. Everything is on the right path that could lead us out of the woods and into the sunlight of normalcy. Let’s just hope that people don’t get complacent and think the worst is over, because it isn’t. Now many states are lifting some restrictions and mask mandates and many experts feel it is too soon for that. Here in Florida we have been “open” for a few months and a number of businesses, big and small, are starting to see some good signs ahead. While we have been “open “ and hosted a Super Bowl with thousands coming into Tampa Bay, our numbers continue to trend downward which is another great sign.
However, now is the time here in Tampa Bay, throughout Florida and the rest of the country to use common sense. Do what is the right thing for a little longer and keep the mask on, keep the social distance, keep aware of any changes and most of all, if you are eligible, get that vaccine shot. We have come very far in this fight over the past year and it is possible that by summer’s end, this could be in the rear view mirror. But to do that, let’s not screw it up by getting lax and tossing safety aside. Now is NOT the time for complacency when we are closer than we have ever thought we might be to putting an end to this pandemic.
Stay safe, stay smart, stay healthy, stay informed and know that we WILL get back to normal if we all do our part.
Art Koch, National Features & DVD Editor, NightMoves Magazine and AAN