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Opinion | Are we about to see another surge? It’s up to us

We’re in the cusp of either taming the plague or giving it a fifth life.


We’re entering the fall/winter holiday season and, says some experts, a likely fifth surge of the pandemic. No. 5.

Those same experts say it will likely be worse in states with low vaccination rates. Well, of course. Lots of people not getting vaccinated, lots more virus to go around.

We’re one of those low-vaccinations states. About 55 percent of Alabamians have one dose of the vaccine; a little more than 45 percent are fully vaccinated.

In Jefferson County, where we live, 52 percent of folks are fully vaxxed, and 64 percent have at least one shot. We’re in a safer place than most Alabama residents.

Here are the statistics that really matter though: More than 838,000 cases of COVID. Nearly 16,000 deaths. We had more than 2,000 cases just this past week.

That’s the reality folks. It’s not propaganda or misinformation.

So, my wife, Veronica, and I are fully vaccinated with boosters in our arms.

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We believe in science, not crap.

But many in Alabama apparently believe in crap. Out of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, we’re No. 50 in vaccinations. Thank God for West Virginia!

So as the holidays approach, how are we going to respond? A friend last Thanksgiving held an unmasked Turkey Day with her children. She died not long after from COVID.

My 80-something sister-in-law, a vocal anti-vaxxer, got COVID, barely survived, and is now a vocal vaccination supporter. Imagine how getting the disease you’re ignoring can change your opinion?

Thousands of 5-11-year-olds are getting vaccinated now. Their parents get boosted when they do. I dropped by my local convenience store Friday and nobody but me was wearing a mask. That was disappointing.

I just don’t understand. Don’t tell me “My body, my decision.” Almost nobody on the right says that when we’re talking about reproductive rights for women.

The hypocrisy is blinding.

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I’ve been encouraged that few football games have caused spreading events, if any. But those fans are outside, a difficult location for the virus to spread, even with cheering, unmasked thousands.

Still, Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner. In the history of the pandemic, holidays have been the super spreaders.

Those events are held inside. Usually, large groups gather to celebrate. Christmas is the same. Families and friends meet to exchange gifts, to remember what the day is for: getting a new iPhone.

Veronica and I are hosting a huge Thanksgiving. For each other. She and I are going to have turkey and her world-famous cornbread dressing. Maybe a green bean casserole. Yams. Pecan pie.

Enough for eight or 10 people, for sure.

But it’ll be only us. Veronica and I at the table, perhaps a candle in the middle. More likely, Thanksgiving on TV trays. We’re comfortable with that.

Christmas? Probably the same, but maybe ham instead of turkey. We’ll visit by FaceTime or Zoom. We’ll mail the gifts.

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We’re nearly over this thing, or mostly over. I’d love to return to class in January mask-free. Full of Thanksgiving and Christmas leftovers.

We’re in the cusp of either taming the plague or giving it a fifth life.

Will we have a surge in Alabama? Please, please let us not. It’s up to us. Vaccinations are available everywhere. Masks still work, especially indoors. Don’t let your pride keep you from being vaccinated. Or from wearing a mask. Don’t. Please do notbelieve in crap.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column eachweek for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @joeykennedy.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column each week for the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.



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