Elephant seals

In the coming months ahead, Covid-19 will probably recede, as a result of the vaccinations and growing natural immunity. But it will not disappear. To think that it will go away is not realistic. Covid-19 is caused by the coronavirus – known as SARS-CoV-2 – and corona viruses circulate for years, causing respiratory infections and the common cold. We will never extinguish the coronaviruses anytime soon. The corona virus is here to stay.

Sub adult male orangutan opening mouth
Photographer Jami Tarris with king penguis
Hippopotamus yawning.

Our goal is to make it manageable, much like the seasonal flu and that is the direction the world is moving. Fortunately, the vaccines are doing just that. In fact, they are doing better than that. For fully vaccinated people, serious illness from Covid-19 is extremely rare, much rare than serious illness from the seasonal flu. How great is THAT? We have the science to back this up. Israel, the country that has vaccinated the largest share of its population, offers case studies. The Covid vaccines are turning the virus into the sort of risk that people accept every day during a normal flu season.  Only 3 – 5 out of 100,000 people in Israel were later hospitalized with Covid symptoms. During a typical flu season, roughly 150 out of every 100,000 people are hospitalized with flu symptoms.

Male olive baboon

And yet, the seasonal flu does not grind life to a halt. It does not keep people from flying on airplanes, eating at restaurants and visiting friends or going to school or work. The vaccines will not eradicate Covid. Nothing will. But they are on pace, perhaps even by this summer, to produce something that looks a lot like normalcy. We now have a third vaccine here in the U.S that will be released. Johnson and Johnson is producing a single application vaccine that should have enough doses to vaccinate 130 million people in the U.S by the end of next month. This is enough to make everyone happy. In fact, it is! The happiest places to be right now may be in a baseball stadium in Los Angeles, or a Six Flags Park in Maryland? Why? Because this is where nurses and many health care workers are giving us our vaccines! The happiest place in medicine right now is anywhere there is vaccine, and the happiest people in medicine are the ones plunging it into the arms of strangers. Ha!!

Eastern gray kangaroo scratching itself

Nurse Christina O’Connel, a clinic director at the University of New Mexico states, “I don’t think I’ve ever had an experience in my career that has felt so promising and fulfilling!”   She also remembers a husband and wife who showed up in matching homemade vaccine T-shirts — crossed syringes and the phrase “two and done” — to get their final dose. Once they were done, “This couple announced, ‘Okay, we’re going to go have a margarita now!’. Everybody cheered! Justin Ellis, CVS pharmacist in Laveen, Arizona agrees, “ There are so many tears – of joy, not sadness – that it’s almost become normal to cry and see others cry. The joy is contagious”.

Botswana, Okavango Delta, Moremi; male lion yawning

So, this newsletter is one of hope. It is to us and we are filled with joy. Theo and I are getting our first vaccine next week. All though we have to drive 3 ½ hours each way to get it (we are too low risk yet to receive a vaccine here where we live), we cannot wait!!!! We hope that you will all have the opportunity to get a vaccine wherever you live. For many of you outside of the USA, don’t lose hope. The vaccine will be coming to you in the future. I welcome emails from any of you about this topic! Theo and I are heading to Namibia in April….and not only are we NOT afraid, but we are filled with joy and anticipation!!!


Wishing you all health, joy and hoping to see you out there traveling really soon on an adventure with us!!! Who else, of course!!!! 😝 Cheers Jami

All images copyright © Jami Tarris & Theo Allofs

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