My international travel for work has been on (March through May) and then off (July) and then back on (ETA mid-August) but might be off for a variety of reasons including COVID’s Delta flavor.
The numbers for the US as a whole is accidentally ok. They’re not great, but as compared to 6 months ago they are almost miraculous. Tennessee drags down the national average, but my county and city seem to be doing some things right.
Overseas, and especially in Asia where I was and will maybe be again, is not so good.
When I was in South Korea the country’s daily new infections was around 400. Now they are closer to 1,600 and mostly of the Delta variety. This causes me pause.
Seemingly unrelated, this past week I traveled to Boston for work. Most people in the airport and everyone on my flights wore masks. Taxis and Ubers were masked adventures. As soon as I stepped out of those mandated cocoons …
South Korea has very stringent protocols for mask wearing, distancing, limiting crowds, &c. And yet their numbers are almost 3 times what they were 2 months ago. Why? Maybe their low vaccination rate with the added complexity of Delta explains it.
My takeaway: Vaccination helps for those who can get vaccinated. Mask wearing helps for those who cannot be vaccinated. Delta doesn’t seem bound by either, but layer defense — masks, vaccines, distancing — gives the best odds.
Even with all that, someone who is regularly masked and vaccinated can still get sick. I hope you, Dear Reader, got one of the good vaccines with a 70% or better efficacy. I hope you have a solid N95 or equivalent mask. I hope you keep your social interactions limited.
Which brings me back to my pending return work trip to South Korea. Allegedly I have the one shot Janssen J&J shot in advance of the trip I was scheduled to take in July. That trip would not have allowed me time for a 2 shot protocol though it was my preference.
The data on J&J with the Delta variant isn’t encouraging. While still massively better than not having had a shot, so far the numbers indicate J&J might not offer as much protection as the 2 dose Moderna or Pfizer mDNA options.
Today I may or may not have accidentally received a Pfizer shot. The extra shot might do nothing for me. It might make me feel ill for a few days and still do nothing for me. Early indications are that a shot of mDNA vaccine boosts the usefulness of J&J.
My hope is that, whatever my vaccinations, I’ve effectively reduced the likelihood that I will die due to COVID to 0, that I’ve reduced the likelihood of contracting COVID to a low number, that I’ve reduced the likelihood that I will pass COVID on to someone else to a very low number, and that the Delta variant will have less impact on me overall.
Viva la Science!