Take a Deep Breath and…

The good news is that there is a vaccine being distributed in the U.S., and more are likely to be approved for distribution soon.

The better news is that front line healthcare workers are getting the first doses. This is so logical and sensible that I can’t believe it’s actually happening in 2020.

Granted, that may not be the case in all states–each state gets to set its own priorities–but most are putting doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals first, with the most vulnerable elderly close behind.

Amazing.

Naturally, there are those who disagree. Not because 2020, depressingly enough, but because the world is full of people who either can’t or won’t think logically.

“But what about the essential workers?”

“But what about the food service and restaurant workers?”

“But what about the teachers?” (Often followed by “…and the high school and college students?”)

I haven’t heard, “But what about the hair dressers and barbers?” yet, but I figure that’s only a matter of time. After all, nearly a dozen California state senators are petitioning the governor to classify restaurants as essential businesses and allow them to open for dining.

Remember, folks: a vaccine is not a cure. They only stop you from getting a disease if you don’t already have it. And in this specific case, it takes several weeks and two shots to reach its full effectiveness.

So let’s be blunt and look at the bottom line. We can’t vaccinate everyone at once. Can not. There aren’t enough doses available and there aren’t enough people to administer the shots and do the record keeping (especially including the part about ensuring that people show up on time for their second shots).

The more classes of people you including in the first wave of “must haves”, the more likely failure becomes. Heck, if you don’t think there’s potential for abuse of the process, just look at what your state classifies as “essential businesses”. Not matter where you live, I guarantee you’ll find at least one–probably several–that you vehemently disagree with. Or just look at how poorly testing services have been managed.

For the record, in California, I’m considered an essential worker. Doesn’t change my opinion. Realistically, most of the members of the public I come into contact with are not going to be carriers. Measures to prevent the spread–masks, barriers, and distancing–are onerous, but they work.

Would I like to be vaccinated? Do I intend to get the shots when it’s my turn? Yes and yes. But I’m not one of the people most in need.

We need to focus on smaller, more attainable goals than “give it to everyone”.

In this case, it means starting with the people who have the most confirmed contact with the virus: emergency room and ICU personnel, their support staff, and their immediate families.

Spread out from there: more medical professionals, nursing home and hospice staff and–to the extent possible–patients. Again, where it can be done, make vaccines available to families, not just individuals.

Note that I said “immediate family” not “family”. Those closely related and living in geographic proximity. Spouses or partners, parents, children. Yes, that policy is subject to abuse, but so is every other policy. But the benefits are huge: pockets of the vaccinated can act as the viral equivalent of firebreaks.

We’ve seen that social bubbles can slow the spread of the virus. Think of family vaccinations as strengthening bubble walls. If your life depended on staying in a physical bubble, would you want it to be a soap bubble or a rubber balloon?

Hey, there’s a slogan I can get behind:

INFLATE THE BALLOON!

Oops!

How refreshingly meta. The fourth-most popular search on Google yesterday was “Google Drive”.

That’s right: The Internet swarmed to Google in an effort to confirm that Google Drive was down.

It’s actually not as silly an idea as it sounds at first blush–Google’s various services are largely independent of each other. Google even hosts its own service status page. According to the status page, yesterday’s outage lasted five and a half hours: more than half of the business day for those on the West Coast. Pretty significant for heavy users of Google Drive and Google Docs.

So checking Google for information on their own outages isn’t crazy, but I still find it amusing that it was so popular a reaction to the outage that it made Number Four on the daily list of searches.

I have a sneaking suspicion that a significant number of those 200,000+ searches were from people trying to find ways to get their work done without their documents, spreadsheets, and word processors.

I also suspect that a fair amount of regular work isn’t getting done today as teams rush to update their disaster recover plans.

Remember, folks: no cloud services are 100% reliable. Always have a Plan B. Keep a local copy of all business-critical, cloud-based documents–and local tools to open them!


Keeping life in perspective, though, it’s instructive to note that football is still much more important to Americans than some weirdo technical thing. “NFL” racked up over a million searches yesterday, five times as many as “Google Drive”. Add in “Green Bay Packers,” “Cleveland Browns,” “Peyton Manning,” “Baltimore Ravens,” “Arizona Cardinals,” “New Orleans Saints,” “Minnesota Vikings,” and “Nfl.com” and we’re left with two conclusions: Google could be much more aggressive about consolidating search results and nobody was getting any work done yesterday.


I am pleased to see Jonas Salk at Number Two on the search list. It’s a nice change from the usual round of sex, celebrities, and sports that usually dominate the rankings. On the other hand, it’s a little depressing to realize that more than half a million searchers apparently had no idea who Salk was.

Well, if one of those 500,000+ people was inspired to make sure his vaccinations are up to date, it’s a victory. With anti-vaccination hysteria on the rise, we need all the help we can get.

Hey, if someone comes up with a vaccine for Ebola, will Robert Kennedy, Jenny McCarthy, Representative Bill Posey, and Donald Trump take their shots?