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Letters to the Editor

Beginning the third year of COVID

It’s hard to believe, but we are about to enter the third year in the war against COVID. How, you might ask, are things going? In some ways, we are better off now than in year one (2020), but in other ways, things still are troubling. 

Take vaccines for example. There were none two years ago. Last year, three came to market. Since then, more than 200 million Americans have rolled up their sleeves. Unfortunately, this leaves 100 million others who still refuse to get vaccinated. I wonder how many of Orange County’s 6,000 COVID-related deaths could have been prevented had more people, locally, agreed to take the jab?

Example number two, masks. Despite the current statewide mandate, more than a quarter of my friends failed to wear masks indoors while attending New Year’s Eve parties a week or so ago. The same is true when they are grocery shopping now, visiting art galleries, attending book signing events, going to the hardware store, and more. In short, they don’t believe in the efficacy of masks so why wear them? 

Last example, hospitalizations. Right now, the numbers aren’t good. With 90% of hospital beds being occupied by unvaccinated patients, at least nine O.C. hospitals have set up tents to increase capacity during the new Omicron variant surge. As a result, some neighbors in Laguna with heart conditions or cancer, for example, are being told to wait for surgeries and/or beds. 

As near as I can tell, most health care experts near and far believe the best we can hope for is living with COVID just as we do the flu. They say when enough people are vaccinated and wear masks, the virus can be treated as a seasonal health concern, not an ongoing national pandemic. 

Make no mistake about it, we have been at war against COVID for two full years. I know people are tired and rightfully so; still, my unscientific guess is grandparents, parents, students, teachers, cruise lines, local business owners and others have, at best, another year to go until life can return to normal (whatever that means). 

So, people, what are you waiting for? The sooner you get vaccinated and wear a mask, the sooner this war will be over.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach