I FEEL SAFEST aboard Irish trains, especially after a 90 minute journey on a crowded Buseireann bus. I wonder when we will feel safe dropping masks because I don't think COVID will ever be as simple as the common flu.
I listen to podcasts from The Atlantic and now believe almost everyone will be either infected or vaccinated before the pandemic ends. Experts think "an unlucky few will contract the virus more than once. The race between the waves of transmission that lead to new variants and the battle to get the globe inoculated won’t be over until the coronavirus has touched all of us."
Like many of my friends, I want to resume trans-Atlantic travel where I will mingle with thousands of people from around the world--many unvaccinated because their local officials forbid mandates. Unless we accept universal vaccination, we have little chance of eliminating the virus. So that means more outbreaks in classrooms (several university students on my timetable won't get vaxxed), on public transport (where loud people insist upon shouting in their phones unmasked), and in workplaces (where I've stood three feet from someone who had COVID).
We're going to claim our vaccine benefit by opening up Ireland. And as we do, our elderly in-laws will be vulnerable to the virus, along with newborn babies and those who get vaccinated but suffer breakthrough infections as their protection levels ebb.
Interesting times ahead.
[Bernie Goldbach teaches creative media for business on the Clonmel Digital Campus for the Technological University of the Shannon.]