As I write this week’s newsletter, I am sitting in the pre-dawn dark of the local civic center’s parking lot. I arrived two hours before my appointment not sure what the wait would be for my first Covid-19 vaccination.
I didn’t sleep well last night and got up way before my alarm: an anticipatory mix of excitement and nerves. Thoughts of: Where do I park? How long is the wait? What side effects might I experience? ran through my head on an endless loop.
I can’t believe I am here. After a year of waiting for a vaccine to be developed, I am one of the fortunate people who may receive the vaccine early. My profession as an outpatient therapist affords me this opportunity: an opportunity I don’t take for granted.
As of January 21, approximately 6.42% of the total population in Washington County has received their first Covid-19 vaccination: another 5.40% of county residents have received their second. Slowly but surely our community is taking the steps necessary to stop the spread of the virus.
Unfortunately, scientists still don’t know what the magic number is to reach herd immunity. Herd immunity is when a sufficient percentage of the population has been infected with the virus or been immunized against the virus to become immune.
Some estimates to achieve herd immunity are as low as 70% of the population: other estimates are as high as 90% of the population need to be immune. One reason we don’t know is because Covid-19 has only been around for a year. Scientists are still learning about the virus and how it spreads.
In a recent United Kingdom study called SIREN (SARS-CoV-2 Immunity and Reinfection Evaluation), [additional info] approximately 22,000 health care workers (predominantly women under 60) were followed for one year. Every two weeks, the study participants received a nose swab to measure the presence of Covid-19 and every month the participants underwent blood tests to look for the presence of Covid-19 antibodies.
Over the last 5 months, some participants (44 people), who previously had Covid-19, were “possibly” infected again. “Possibly” means Covid-19 was detected in the person’s nose or throat; however to confirm probable reinfection, additional tests are needed. So far, only two people were confirmed as “probable” reinfections.
The good news is a VERY small percentage of folks might have been reinfected. The bad news is of those possible reinfected participants most of them were asymptomatic. In other words, they didn’t know they were spreading the virus because they didn’t feel sick.
We don’t know enough about the Covid-19 virus to make any definitive statements about when this pandemic will be over.
I think it is safe to say that whether a person has been infected or has been immunized everyone still needs to take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.
Do I have hope?
Hell yes, I have hope!
Getting my first vaccine is a real confidence booster.
Will I still take precautions and social distance and wear a mask?
It ain’t over yet.
Which is why I want to end with a note of compassion and empathy. Aside from the physical toll this virus has had around the world, there also has been a big emotional and mental toll. More people are complaining of anxiety, loneliness, and depression. The stress of living through a pandemic is real and it is tough. (Here are some resources to help.)
One way that I cope is to schedule walks with my friends. If you are like me, then you probably are sick of Zoom calls. (Better than nothing but not my preferred way to be with friends.)
Not only is spending time in the outdoors good for calming our central nervous system, being outside and six-feet apart is safer than being indoors. (Less likely to spread the virus.)
Moving your body (walking, running, hiking, skipping, dancing) has the added bonuses of strengthening your heart muscle and of releasing endorphins – those feel-good brain chemicals. I consistently feel better after I engage in body movement.
I’d love to hear from you. What are you doing to support your mental and emotional health? Drop me a line and let me know how you are. Hearing from people whether it is a text, a phone call, snail mail, or an email brightens my day and reminds me that I am not alone.
Kim Bushore-Maki is a soul-driven entrepreneur who understands the undeniable urge to create a business and a life filled with meaning and purpose. Her vision of opening a center where women could heal and grow led her to open Shakti in the Mountains in Johnson City, Tennessee: a place where the creative, feminine energy is nurtured and valued.
Five years later, Kim is still in the flow of supporting and building a healthy, vibrant community and now guides retreats, teaches yoga, and provides one-on-one services for women who want an immersion experience into the life-affirming, Shakti energy.
Kim’s training as a therapist and yoga teacher allows her to safely and compassionately guide women on a heart-centered journey to Self, where women re-connect with their beautiful, authentic spirit.