Our first event of the year, “Facing the pandemic in 2021,” stimulated important conversations Thursday night about how to take care of yourself during COVID-19 and what our future with the vaccine might look like.
“There is going to be one word that really echoes through 2021, and that’s patience,” Corinne McDaniels-Davidson, director of the Institute for Public Health at San Diego State University, said during the free webinar.
The event was moderated by inewsource reporter Jill Castellano and delivered in both English and Spanish. All attendees also received a tip sheet with financial, medical and mental health resources for those in need during the pandemic.
McDaniels-Davidson said up to 90% of the population will need to be vaccinated before we can return to some semblance of normalcy.
“We’re going to need to win the hearts and minds of people who are unsure about the vaccine, who need their questions answered, and they need that done in a clear and transparent way before they feel like they’re comfortable enough to get the vaccine,” she said.
A lot of factors could hamper getting so many people vaccinated, she said, including widespread distrust.
Nancy Maldonado, CEO of the Chicano Federation, said distrust is especially prevalent in San Diego’s Latino community. Misinformation about the vaccine quickly took root on social media, she said, making it difficult for community health workers to stay ahead of it.
“A learning lesson from us moving forward is to make sure that we try to stay ahead of the game, and that accurate information about the vaccine should have been put out a long time ago,” Maldonado said.
Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas said her city has been hit particularly hard by the virus, with the predominantly Latino community bearing the brunt. Salas said she is hopeful the Biden administration will provide sweeping federal support because many local municipalities are struggling just as much as their citizens.
This will be especially important once the state’s eviction moratorium is lifted, Salas said.
“It’s going to be really a tsunami when all this ends because people are going to be deeply in debt,” she said.
The racial and ethnic inequities accompanying this pandemic are undeniable, Maldonado said. “In ZIP codes that are predominantly Latino, you are five times more likely to catch the virus,” she said.
Michael Weiss is a COVID-19 survivor who spent 10 days on a ventilator at the Sharp Chula Vista hospital – only to find out in recovery that his mom had died after contracting the virus.
Weiss expressed frustration with some people’s unwillingness to adhere to public health orders and said the whole community needs to be on board for us to get past this.
“We’ve seen at restaurants and businesses, ‘Shirts and Shoes Required,’ and nobody has a problem with that,” he said. “So why do people have a problem with the masks?”
Until there are no more public health orders to follow, McDaniels-Davidson said self care should be a part of our daily regimens. Getting outside and staying active is one of the best things you can do to combat pandemic fatigue, she said.
“If you have a car, you can take a drive,” McDaniels-Davidson recommended. “Go around and see parts of the county you haven’t seen before by car.”
Type of Content
News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.