We realize that after two and one-half years of dealing with COVID-19, all of us just want to be done with COVID.
But the unfortunate reality is that COVID-19 is not done with us, despite what President Biden suggested in his interview on Sunday with 60 Minutes.
The number of Americans who still are contracting — and dying from — COVID each and every day continues to be staggering: The daily average of new COVID cases in the U.S. is more than 60,000 and the daily average for new deaths is almost 500. More Americans are dying from COVID every week than died on 9/11.
The toll that so-called long-COVID is wreaking on our population also is enormous. By some estimates, 20 percent of those who contract COVID, even if they have mild cases, will suffer from the effects of long-COVID, including many that are physically and mentally debilitating over the long term.
However, the availability of the new COVID-19 vaccine marks a huge step forward in our ability to reduce the ravages of the COVID pandemic. The new vaccine, which became available two weeks ago for all adults, is the only type of vaccine that can protect against the most dominant Omicron strains of COVID-19 in the US. The new booster is bivalent, which means it provides better protection against both the original strain of COVID-19 and the Omicron variants that are currently causing most infections (BA.4 and BA.5).
In addition, preliminary research suggests that the new vaccine offers significant protection not only against serious illness and death, but also against contracting long-COVID.
Health professionals are recommending that even if you have had COVID, you should get the new vaccine as soon as a month after your illness, and for those who have received all of the previous boosters, you should get the new vaccine two months after your last shot.
Those with compromised immune systems should consult with their doctor about getting the new vaccine.
We urge all of our readers not to walk, but to run, to a health care provider to get the new vaccine ASAP.
America needs immigrants more than ever
For the first time in the history of the world, there are more people on the planet over the age of 65 than under five.
For industrial nations such as the U.S., this is a profound change from what has been the norm for the past 75 years, when the arrival of the Baby Boomer generation marked the beginning of just the opposite trend.
But with the Baby Boomers leaving the workforce in unprecedented numbers, we’re seeing some of the effects of this new change in demographics. There simply are not enough Americans to fill jobs of all kinds — reportedly there is just one worker for every two job openings — and no matter how much the Fed raises interest rates, that is not going to change.
Moreover, as the majority of Baby Boomers begin to hit their 70s, the demand for service employees, ranging from healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, home health aides) to the travel industry (flight crews, airline ground staff) is going to increase exponentially.
Whether going to a hospital emergency room or an airport these days, it’s already a nightmare, with the consequences ranging from life-and-death to inconvenience.
Japan has been the canary in the coal mine of this demographic shift. Its economy has been stagnant for a decade and even shrinking in comparison to other nations because of the decline in its birth rate and its aging population.
The industrialized world is facing the reality of simple arithmetic: There are fewer young people to take care of a lot more old people.
In 1970, the median age of the U.S. population was 28.1. Today it is 38.6. In other words, our population today is almost a full generation older (if you count a generation as being 15-20 years) than it has been in the past.
With the U.S. government stuck in gridlock, it is obvious that we as a nation are not going to be able to do anything to address this impending seismic shift in demographics over the long term.
America’s greatness always has stemmed from those who have immigrated from other countries. Immigrants come to America to make a better life for themselves and their families. They work hard and possess an entrepreneurial spirit. In addition, they bring a diversity that has created the wonder that is the American melting pot.
More than ever, America needs immigrants to fill the jobs and pay the taxes that will support our aging population.
We realize that a lot of people may not want to hear that — but that is the reality.