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More Vaccinations Mean More Reason to be Optimistic

New York, NY – Good news, folks! The state is expanding the vaccination pool and inoculating more of its residents. This month, New York extended appointments to public-facing government workers and other public employees; not-for-profit workers who provide public-facing services; and essential in-person and public-facing building service workers. It also lowered the age of eligibility down to 50 years-old, and made more at-risk groups eligible for vaccination.

A third vaccine from Johnson & Johnson has added to the anti-virus arsenal. Moderna, meanwhile, has already begun testing coronavirus booster shots to further the fight against a viral enemy responsible for killing over 535,000 people in the U.S. The MTA is reporting the highest subway ridership since the pandemic began, although it’s still less than 40% of pre-pandemic numbers.

Perhaps, this means a return to normalcy?

It is long past time to put this virus behind us. It’s time to strengthen our job market and see people return to work. It is time to plan carefully and act accordingly to keep the city on the right path.

Spring has brought high hopes that Covid-19 vaccines are having a real impact against the spread of disease. More inoculations mean more people will be leaving their homes instead of staying put in fear of a possible infection. Outdoor dining will be more pleasant with warmer weather. Perhaps, this also means an improving job market, as well.

Of course, all of this does not mean we are out of the woods — not by a long shot.  Too many people are still dying and the increasing number of coronavirus variants has the medical community very concerned. Attention to safety protocol must remain our top priority. In simple terms, teamwork, unity, and civic and personal responsibility are vital to leading us to the next stages of recovery.

We have yet to fully grasp the long term effects of the pandemic; its impact on students deprived of traditional  rites of passage and the prognosis for Covid-19 survivors left with lingering syndromes and conditions. Whether the effects are physical or emotional — it will be interesting to see just how well the city recovers after more than a year in lockdown mode.

Perhaps, there is a quote that can be helpful with our current situation: “United we stand. Divided we fall.” It is this trade unionist’s hope that all those who qualify for vaccination consider just how close we are to finally overcoming Covid-19. Here’s to breaking out of the Zoom rooms and enjoying each other’s company in person.

Ben Kimmel is a proud member of the IUOE Local 94, as well as an Author, Writer on thewrittenaddiction.com, Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Certified Addiction and Recovery Coach, Certified Professional Life Coach, and Peer & Wellness Advocate.  Ben can be reached at bennyk1972@gmail.com

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