retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Every once in a while, I say to myself, "Self, you need to find a way not to engage so much with the whole pandemic-vaccination debate.  You're never going to convince anybody of anything."  And I listen to myself for a while - sometimes for as long as a few days, sometimes for 10 minutes - and then something happens (a story, an email) that prompts me to re-engage.

I know some folks don't believe this, but I really do believe the pandemic - and all the dominoes that have fallen as a result of it - is one of the most important stories that MNB has covered in the past 20+ years.  

And yesterday is an example of what keeps the story going.

Responding to the emails and my comments in "Your Views," one MNB reader wrote:

If as you say, the vaccine doesn't prevent transmission (majority of the evidence supports this), then how is my being vaccinated/boosted or not affecting my neighbor?

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Maybe instead of “Love thy neighbor” it should be “Look out for yourself."

I was trying to figure out how to react to this - preferably without acerbity, since some MNB readers find this offensive when expressed by people trying to behave responsibly by getting vaccinated - when I got the following email from an MNB reader, which did it far better than I ever could have:

I wanted to follow up because last week my fully vaccinated husband, a department manager at a local grocery store, tested positive for COVID.  Every single person on his team had been positive over the last week until finally it caught up with him as well. I am sure that working 10-12 hour days every day covering for his sick coworkers didn't help his immune system.

More than half his store is out sick; they have closed some of the peripheral departments (bakery, deli, etc) out of necessity because there is simply no one healthy to work.  He works in the outskirts of our city, where most customers do not mask and many are anti-vaccine (including the pharmacist at his location - huh?).

Because I spend time with him, I also had to isolate pending testing, leaving my 2 young teens living the bachelor life for a week, spending a fortune on grocery and food delivery, home covid tests, and untold gray hairs helping the kids get schoolwork from teachers virtually and worrying about the health outcome for the people I love. Not to mention coming up with a response for my 12 year old who asked me "What if y'all die?"

We have done it all "right" - vaccines, boosters, N95 masks, closing our social circle, keeping our distance - but COVID still came home to roost. We had a great outcome, all things considered, but it cost a fortune and upended our household entirely. 

THAT'S WHY I CARE IF OTHER PEOPLE ARE VACCINATED. The more people are vaccinated, the less chance the disease spreads.  The proof?  Despite spending hours in close quarters, unmasked, with my husband the days and nights before he tested positive and despite him being fairly ill, I did not test positive and neither did the kids.  As a vaccinated person he shed less virus into the air and as vaccinated people, we were protected from what virus was there.  Because of vaccines, his infection ended with him.

You are correct in your assertion that I am frustrated and annoyed.  I'm also frankly pretty rageful that some people won't get vaccinated or wear masks to give a good goddamn about their fellow man. Two years ago when the pandemic began my husband was a 'hero' along with other grocery store employees for keeping food and supplies on peoples tables.  Now he is sick because those same people won't do simple, safe, basic things to keep him and others safe.

Some will suggest that this email qualifies as "invective."  But I don't think so … many people are seeing their lives and livelihoods disrupted (at best) and threatened (at worst).  I think under the circumstances, a little rage seems entirely appropriate.