August 2021

The Provisional World Have you heard the phrase ‘Delta Whiplash’ yet? We are in the midst of a surge, and not just any surge, this is with a variant, Delta, that is more communicable, more deadly, and has more breakthrough cases, cases that affect people already vaccinated. It affects young, middle age and elderly. Nobody gets a pass. If you have not already read about it, this is an interesting article about the outbreak of Delta cases on Cape Cod,

https://www.livescience.com/cape-cod-covid-19-outbreak-delta-variant.htmlhttps://www.livescience.com/cape-cod-covid-19-outbreak-delta-variant.html

So far Albany, Berkshire and Columbia Counties are at moderate risk for COVID contagion. Whereas “Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties were all averaging between 50 and 99 new cases of the virus per 100,000 residents as of Friday [7/30/21], CDC data showed. That rate is considered “substantial” by the agency, which issued new guidance Tuesday recommending both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals wear masks indoors when in areas deemed to have “substantial” or “high” levels of community transmission.” (Albany Times Union, 7/31/21)

As reported in the Atlantic, “Fully vaccinated individuals are less likely to get infected, develop symptoms, go to the hospital, or die. They’re still not spreading the virus as often as unvaccinated people. But this is a particularly troubling development for those who are immunocompromised or elderly or live with people who are, as well as the parents of unvaccinated children.” We also now know that the vaccinated can have a sufficient viral load of the Delta variant to pass it on to others, while still asymptomatic.

I feel confident about our local folks. Even folks coming from outside our immediate area, such as a family coming from NYC on the 11th, and the Turkish community, which is planning on having about ten people visit our Wednesday Evening Blended session on August 25th are deemed safe. Our sangha has been invited to a Turkish community picnic on August 29th in Guilderland, NY. Additionally, we have a Baseball Road Trip on August 19th at The Joe in Troy. The Baseball Road Trip and the Turkish community picnic are outdoor events. Everyone is vaccinated, but considering data such as that from the Cape, we will need to evaluate whether these visits are advisable when the events are closer in time. Our decisions must be science and data driven.

Not everyone can be vaccinated, Allergic reactions to routine vaccines have been estimated to affect 1–10 persons per 1,000,000 administrated doses. For the most part these people know who they are. That is why a person vaccinated must wait about 15 minutes after administration to determine if there is a reaction, while still under medical observation. The reaction happens quickly.

There are others who are immunocompromised for whom the vaccine will not work. Other people have a rigid ideological resistance to vaccinations due to a belief in homeopathy, some chiropractic, naturopathic, and osteopathic, medical practices. These account for a relatively small number of people. The remainder, 45% of those who are not currently vaccinated will not be jabbed because of anti-vaccine misinformation and disinformation (see Atlantic Article: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/05/the-people-who-wont-get-the-vaccine/618765/) and political reasons. Their perceived personal liberties are at odds with societies wellbeing, and ultimately my personal liberties.  

One of our sangha members started a newsletter regarding this issue, the link is: https://mailchi.mp/ff23fe8e49ac/vaccine-disinformation-campaign-in-columbia-county-5315490?e=705d498dc4. I highly recommend looking at this newsletter.

We are not going to hold a September retreat. We have to look at the contamination potential almost day-by-day. For a retreat, people often come from a fair distance away, communities more than 150 miles away and they need more advanced notice. I don’t want to cancel a few days before the retreat. We might consider something that is local only when the date approaches and we know what we are dealing with in two months.

Nationwide and in the Capital Region of New York, the current surge in cases, including Delta variant, is an epidemic of the unvaccinated. Almost all of the new cases — 99.7% —are among people who have not been vaccinated. Less than .001% of the vaccinate die from COVID 19, currently 2.5% of the unvaccinated are dying. While no vaccine is 100% effective these are remarkable data.

Many of us, myself included, have felt a liberation in the last month or so and now we are presented with new challenges that are resulting in a contraction of many social activities. We are socializing with vaccinated members and returning to masked encounters in more non-confident venues. A Delta whiplash. Impermanence is, well, impermanence. 

Love and Gassho . . . Monshin