All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.
W.H. Auden, September 1, 1939
Real talk? I've reached the point in this quarantine life where I wake up each morning and wonder if there's any point in getting dressed for the day. Sometimes I don't. Sometimes I do because I live with people, and am not yet past caring that they may soon think me disreputable. New York is so very changed, the streets, the train stations, the parks hauntingly empty, now that the cold has arrived. Our numbers are ticking up like everywhere else, though we are still under a ten percent infection rate statewide. On the other hand, lots of people get tested here. In some states, people only get tested when they arrive at the ER with symptoms, so their infection rate is unbearably high, and we have no idea what the real truth is, whether more tests would yield a lower infection rate, or an even higher one.
We're all still stumbling around in the dark when it comes to covid, and now there is a plan afoot to give half the dose of the Moderna vaccine for the first shot, and the second half of the dose for the second shot three weeks later, so as to be able to inoculate twice as many people. The Moderna experts have apparently said the protection imparted will be "identical" to that of the full dose for both shots, which begs the question, if half a dose is so very effective, why wasn't that the prescribed dosage to begin with?
My son, as it happens, will be receiving the Moderna vaccine, first dose, today. When I called him yesterday with these questions, he said, "That doesn't sound right. That's not how they did the studies." He'd been away with his love at an Airbnb upstate for the new year, and hadn't watched or read any news, so I filled him in. But he wasn't about to indulge my hysterics. "Look," he said, "This is Big Pharma we're talking about. If they can get you to pay for twice as much as you truly need, do you have any doubt they'd do that?"
I don't question that he might be right, but then why is Dr. Fauci, whom I trust, against this half-dose approach? "So will you get only half a dose tomorrow?" I asked my son. "No idea," he yawned, as it was early, and I had woken him from sleep. "But don't blow up my phone all day tomorrow asking about the vaccine. I'm getting it late in the afternoon. I'll call you when I'm done." You see what kind of mother I am, anxious, hovering, and my children have learned how to back me off. Still, as skeptical as I am of this half-dose plan, would I take the vaccine if it were offered to me tomorrow? Yes, even the half dose. Looking down the barrel of a covid apocalypse, I guess I'd hedge my bets. (Update: It appears Dr. Fauci may yet convince the vaccine decision-makers not to mess around with the Moderna dosing.)
Georgia votes on its two run-off Senate races today. Let's hope that despite Governor Kemp's and Secretary of State Raffensperger's blatant record of purging state voter rolls and shutting down voting sites in majority Democratic districts, they continue to stand firm against Trump's attempt to trash the will of the people. Let's hope they recognize our common cause in ensuring the integrity of today's election, because even with their egregious history of voter suppression, it's never too late to do the right thing. As the poem here says, in the face of hunger, separation, state cruelty, and lies, we cannot lose hope. We humans have no choice, really. We must learn to love one another or die.
Also, my daughter adores her dog.