Now in its ninth month, the COVID-19 global pandemic continues to rage, though there is finally light at the end of the tunnel. Pfizer and Moderna recently reported early figures regarding their COVID-19 vaccines, reporting them to be more than 90 percent effective. In addition to this reported success, several additional vaccines are deep in late-stage studies, and researchers continue to test other treatments.
This is fantastic news. Assuming a smooth rollout of vaccines when they’re made available, several successful products would quash COVID-19’s pervasive ability to spread freely. After an arduous, difficult year, this is welcome news that should inspire hope and optimism for 2021.
While we need hope and optimism, we must not allow it to preclude protections against COVID-19. In October and November, COVID-19’s second wave struck Connecticut. On November 9, the very day Pfizer announced its positive news, the state reported 3,338 positive COVID-19 cases discovered in a single weekend, with 27 deaths and 94 new hospitalizations reported in just three days. Those are 27 people whose absence will send ripple effects through their friends and family and 94 people thrust into scary, potentially life-threatening situations. All in three days. Their ranks swell almost daily, too. Though the future is bright, the present remains dangerous.
The cavalry is on its way, but that is the most dangerous time to lay down arms and stop fighting, especially when we continue to have strong tools at our side. Time is one. The longer we can prevent ourselves from contracting or spreading COVID-19, the more opportunities become available. Treatments and medicines are still in development, some reportedly saving significant numbers of lives. Doctors and nurses learn more about how to treat the disease every day. That is valuable time benefitting all of us.
What earns us more time? Working together as a society. Our common goal is to carry ourselves and our state through these dark days and work toward a solution to build against the damage this disease has already inflicted upon us. Yes, that means masks, social distancing and proper hygiene. COVID-19 does not let down its guard or pick and choose its targets. The disease does not discriminate, and as such, we need to protect ourselves against it.
The past nine months have been one of the most challenging periods of our lives, and while there is reason for hope, there is also reason for us all to remain reasonable. That means common sense protections that keep us safe. For some of us, it will mean difficult decisions regarding holiday celebrations; for others, we will continue facing challenges evident since the first days of the pandemic. Regardless, I encourage and implore all of us to do all we can to fight this scourge and keep our state safe.
State Sen. Norm Needleman