Orofino,Idaho-Window on the Clearwater
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'Here Comes the Sun'

by Dr. Phil Petersen, Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics

To quote George Harrison in an old Beatles song: "It's been a long, cold, lonely winter." Yes, it has. But to quote again later in the song: "Here comes the sun!"

The light is getting brighter! If I were to give a one word answer for why things are getting better I would say "vaccines." The vaccination rollout is getting faster, and every week more of our citizens are vaccinated. Currently, one of every four Clearwater County residents has received at least one dose of one of the Covid vaccines. The news is even better than that. Statewide, of the seniors most likely to die or end up in the ICU on a ventilator if infected, close to three of every four have received at least one dose of the vaccine. That basically means that those seniors are not going to die of Covid. By two weeks after even the first dose of vaccine, nobody gets sick and nobody dies from the virus. And we are not seeing any dangerous reactions to vaccination. With the aggressive distribution of the vaccine, the numbers get better every week.

The roll out of vaccines started with the elderly and health care workers, but in our district, they are now available to adults of all ages. In the next week, that will extend to the entire state.

I am still expecting that this summer will be much more normal than last. It's not normal yet. Unfortunately, with some of the spring break revelry, a surge in cases is expected. Hopefully, we won't see a large increase in the number of people dying because of the high vaccination rates in the most susceptible of our citizenry. Even so, we should not be cavalier. Younger people are less likely to die, but many of them get seriously ill, and many have long lasting effects. We have patients eight months out from their infections who have not returned to their baseline.

When I was growing up, the older generation in my family talked about the loss of a brother who died in World War I. A couple of years ago, I was visiting the family cemetery in southeast Idaho, and stopped at his gravesite. I realized as I looked at the dates on the headstone the he died only a couple weeks before the armistice ending World War I was signed. I thought how sad and what a waste that he made it through most of the war only to be lost just before the end.

The end of the pandemic is coming as well. But it's not here yet. How soon it is over will depend on behavior and vaccination willingness. We need to continue to be vigilant and to do the things to stay safe. We don't want to be a casualty just before it is over. We don't want anyone we care about to be a casualty. We need to hold out a little longer and stay safe with what we do. And the biggest safety net we can have is the vaccine, which is now available to all adults. Get your vaccine!

Window on the Clearwater
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544
Phone: (208) 476-0733
Fax: (208) 476-4140