Everyone’s heads are spinning. The constant updates and what to believe are frustrating at best. You have CDC guidance, government mandates that vary by state, federal authorities, and now an emergency Supreme Court case. What to think and do. The CDC has issued new guidance for vaccinating children.

First, think of you and your family and friends and what is best for you. There is no one size fits all in the pandemic environment we are all living in.

We started with COVID-19 which was new, and no one understood it. After fast global responses, it was identified, and scientists and the medical community raced to combat a major threat to the world that has already taken 5.5 million lives worldwide.

COVID-19 is a virus. The common cold as we call it, is a COVID virus. While we have as a world beaten smallpox, and, polio, those are bacterial infections. This is a new virus beast. It has been compared to the Black Plague and the Spanish Flu a century ago.

The Black Plague was a bacterium, suspected to be spread by fleas and rodents. The Spanish Flu, as it is known, was a pneumonia bacterium. We did not have modern medicine in those times to mitigate the symptoms.

While vaccinations against bacteria have proven successful, there is currently no known cure for a virus. Therefore, the flu shot is adapted each year to address the variants. While science is continuing to develop new antiviral drugs that reduce the effects of viruses, there is currently no silver bullet.

Older people, and young children are at much higher risk for both influenza and COVID. According to WHO, approximately 650,000 people die of influenza each year. In the US, that number is much lower and last year, it was only 20,000. That is being attributed to lesser interaction and people remaining quarantined due to COVID.

COVID-19 and its variants have proven much more deadly. So, what to do? Depending on your work environment, use your judgement. If your work allows you to be more isolated, your exposure to risk is lower. Contact your local, city, state, and school districts for current numbers and restrictions. School has been particularly difficult for working families. Trying to juggle work and the health and safety of students is trying.

WA State DOH

SNO County DOH

Skagit County DOH

Island County DOH

But do not panic and become frightened by the media hype and confusing messaging. Look at your personal circumstances, exposure risk and make decisions based on the needs of your family.

Marcee Maylin has a degree in Editorial Journalism from the University of Washington and 30+ years media experience. She is currently the Editor of the Everett Post dedicated to providing current, relevant, and entertaining content for the local community.