Hallelujah! Spring has finally arrived in my neck of the woods. It wasn't even two months ago that Texas, along with much of the central U.S., was plunged into a historic deep freeze. THAT was definitely one for the weather record books!
Now, with warming temperatures, it's time to think about shedding those extra outer layers of clothes. As I write this, it's 72°F (22.2°C) outside. It's definitely comfortable outside with short sleeves. It's time for fishing, lawn mowing and lawn work, and time to start thinking about gardening.
I'll probably just put in tomato and pepper plants (green and jalapeno). I tried to put in broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts last year, but that just became the first place my chickens went when we let them range about the backyard. They thought those were put in to serve as their own personal buffet. It should go without saying that I didn't get any broccoli, cabbage or brussel sprouts from my garden last year. The chickens kept those eaten down to mere nubs. But they left the pepper plants alone, foraging beneath those plants for bugs. And the tomato plants were fenced off from the chickens, for good reason. My chickens LOVE tomatoes!
Unfortunately, the pandemic is a really mixed bag right now. Some jurisdictions are easing restrictions, while others are having to reimpose stronger restrictions. Europe is seeing a resurgence, as are spotty areas around the U.S. Vaccinations are continuing to be administered, albeit at a relatively slow rate.
In the U.S., only about 17 percent of the population has been vaccinated. To achieve the seemingly elusive "herd immunity," infectious disease experts predict that a combination of somewhere between 70 and 95 percent of the public will have had to either be vaccinated or have contracted the disease and gotten over it. The exact herd immunity numbers vary with each disease, depending on how easily it is spread. Measles, which is highly contagious, requires 95 percent of the public to either have been vaccinated or have contracted and gotten over it to achieve herd immunity. In the U.S., infectious disease experts are perhaps overly optimistically hoping to achieve herd immunity to the coronavirus by sometime in the Fall of 2021.
Vaccination rates in the European countries appear to be similar to the U.S., with some doing better, and others doing worse, than the U.S. Comparatively, the U.S. would fit in as number 12 on the European list of countries comparing vaccine doses administered. Asia and Latin America (which includes all of South America) are bringing up the rear, lagging far behind Europe and the U.S. in vaccine doses administered. To view the statistical data for your area, check here to see if it is available.
Being frontline healthcare workers, both my wife and I got our first dose of the Moderna vaccine a few days before Christmas, with our second dose administered in January. My 79 year old mother got her first dose of the Moderna vaccine on just April 1, with her second dose scheduled for late April.
Besides limited availability of the vaccines, the other driving force in the slow vaccination rates is people's hesitancy to get the vaccine. That hesitancy is rooted in a number of fallacies making the rounds, such as "it was developed too fast, with not enough testing," that it "alters our cellular DNA," and that it "contains microchips to track people," among others.
No one knows how long the vaccines will impart immunity to the coronavirus. Lasting antibodies don't seem to be the way they work. Instead, the vaccines appear to help teach our immune system's T-cells how to mount an attack on the virus, minimizing the coronavirus's effect on our health, should we later become exposed. So, even if we are required to get regular booster shots, so be it. It will be worth it, not only to protect our own health, but to also possibly protect those around us. Because everything with COVID-19 in humans is so new, that part of the "science" is yet to be determined. What we do know is that the coronavirus is a vicious, opportunistic and indiscriminate killer. So, if you get a chance to get vaccinated, please do so.
This month's cover is a call out to Leonardo da Vinci, whose 569th birthday is April 15. We decided to make our own version of one of his most famous images, called The Vitruvian Man. He is believed to have made that image sometime around 1490. Our version of The Vitruvian Man, Vitruvian Tux, was created by Meemaw in 2021.
Until next month, I bid you peace, happiness, serenity, prosperity, and continued good health.