We need you, face to face, please get vaccinated
“She spoke almost non-stop for almost three hours,” said the grandmother who spent an afternoon on the bridge talking with her teenage granddaughter whose most enthusiastic conversation a year ago was an “I guess”.
“It’s so awesome,” “Oh, I missed it” and “I’ve needed it for a long time” are just a few of the comments among members of a Sunday morning Bible study class afterwards. having met in person for the first time in 18 months. The hour was over, but the discussions continued between the people meeting person to person.
I can testify to the joy of these experiences because I was there. The talkative 13-year-old is our grandson, and the talkative students are my Sunday school students.
After being released – or at least paroled – from their Zoom jail cells, people start behaving like people again. Yes, most of the time they are masked, but the eyes above the N95s are glowing again and smiling.
To my tongue, restaurant food tastes much better, delivered to a table by an awesome waiter than it was a year ago, served at home in a styrofoam takeout box. Shopping in a store and being able to ask a friendly employee a question is much more satisfying than “chatting” with a pop-up bot in an internet store.
I don’t have any scientific studies or psychosocial experiences to back up my observations, but it seems to me that a lot of people seem happier now that they can be in school in person, be able to socialize face to face, not via Google Classroom or Zoom. I do, however, have research to support the general view that face-to-face interactions have positive effects on our lives.
In her column “Social interaction is essential for mental and physical health”, columnist on personal health for The New York TimesJane Brody cites research that shows ”. . . social isolation is comparable to high blood pressure, obesity, lack of exercise or smoking as a risk factor for disease and premature death.
“People who chronically lack social contact are more likely to experience high levels of stress and inflammation. These, in turn, can adversely affect the well-being of almost any bodily system, including the brain.
“In the absence of social interactions, blood flow to vital organs is likely to be reduced and immune function may be compromised.”
In addition, our mental health is influenced by our presence with others. Health and wellness writer Sarah DiGiulio reports: “Being alone has been associated with worse physical and emotional health outcomes and lower well-being. Additionally, a lack of social support can directly affect our potential to experience happiness. “
She explains the reasons:
- Being around other people makes us healthier.
- Our brains work best when we work together.
- Psychologically, we prefer to go through life not alone.
- When we are surrounded by people who drive us crazy, we grow up.
It is clear that coming together in person with others benefits many aspects of our lives; my previously noted anecdotes support these findings. I contend that our ability to be with others safely is a result of the 60% of eligible people, as of October 8, in the Capital Region who, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health scorecard, have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
(In Louisiana, 53% have received at least one dose, while 47% are fully vaccinated, according to the New York Times vaccination tracker.)
Although 60% is a good number, I remind you that when you were in public school, 60% was a failure. Seventy percent of adults statewide have since been vaccinated, according to state data.
If we are to continue to return to healthy face-to-face gatherings, we must insist that the 40-42% of unimmunized people get vaccinated.
We need to confront the myths of the vaccine foams with the verifiable facts we have. We must instill in vaccine hesitants and pandemic deniers that getting vaccinated against this virus and others is a necessary social responsibility to “ensure domestic tranquility” and “promote general welfare” as guaranteed by the Constitution. of our nation.
I want my 9 year old grandson to run around the playground with his friends, not be walled up in his room again, able to interact with his classmates only through a computer screen. I want to attend my 13 year old granddaughter’s orchestra concert in person, without having to watch it later on Youtube. I want my 25-year-old grandson to be able to go out to dinner with his friends freely, not be locked in his Washington, DC apartment, his “workplace” for 18 months.
“People, people who need people, are the luckiest people in the world,” sang Barbra Streisand in the Broadway musical in 1964. Funny girl. It turns out that we all need others if we are to be physically and emotionally healthy.
To the 40% of our Capital Region community members who have not yet been vaccinated, we need you to get you vaccinated so that we can all come together, face to face, safely in the theaters. classroom and restaurants, lounges and bars, in social halls and sanctuaries.
Please. We need you.
This commentary was originally posted by Pennsylvania Capital-Star, an affiliate of the nonprofit States Newsroom, which includes the Louisiana Iluninator.