The Long Wait

Photo by Wayne Bierbaum.

By Meg Walburn Viviano, CBM Editorial Director

With snow gently falling outside my house this week, I watched a live broadcast of Punxsutawney Phil, a tubby groundhog held high by men in top hats, proclaim that we’re in for six more weeks of winter. 

Though the science behind the groundhog’s shadow is questionable at best, most people still react with a groan when Phil offers no hope of an early spring. Especially if the news comes when our neighborhoods are coated in snow and ice. 

Chesapeake Country got its first real snowfall this past week, and some people were understandably grumpy. There was the shoveling, the clearing of cars, the iffy road conditions, the wet socks. 

This year, however, I’d argue the snow was a welcome distraction. Even those who don’t cheer its arrival spent a good couple of days watching the forecast and a couple days more watching snow, then sleet, then snow again, blanket the region. 

For parents, it was a welcome diversion and an excuse to get kids, who have spent most of the winter at home in front of computers, out of the house. I saw groups of high schoolers (who are usually too cool for such things) trudging off to the sledding hill right along with the younger kids. We had enough accumulation for sledding, snow angels, and even a petite snowman—but not enough to cripple our neighborhoods for days. 

With my two preschoolers at home, I milked the excitement of the snow as much as possible. We measured snowfall with a ruler (no yardstick needed with this storm). We examined our own footprints and the tracks of unidentified wildlife through our backyard. Sure, it took the same amount of time to suit the kids up in their snow gear as was actually spent outside, but coming back in and lighting a fire in the fireplace was a pretty good reward for our effort. 

What we didn’t do for those few days when the snow fell was think much about the pandemic or the frustration surrounding the wait for vaccines. 

The COVID-19 vaccine is still only available to a select few. Most healthy adults understand we’ll have to cool our heels for a while and wait our turn. But we all have loved ones in high-priority groups: an elderly parent, a public servant, a high-risk medical patient. We want to make sure the people we care about have the best possible chance at getting a shot. But with vaccines being distributed by medical centers, counties, and retail pharmacies, there are multiple “lists” to get on. Confusion sets in as no one wants to be left behind. 

In this issue of CBM Bay Weekly, we’re taking on the daunting task of laying out your options to get ahold of the vaccine. In our cover story, we’re talking to real people in Anne Arundel and Calvert counties about the different avenues they took to get vaccinated. We’ve spoken to the experts, putting all the different paths to vaccination in one place so you know your available opportunities.  

Of course, even armed with all possible information, we’ll still need to be patient—just as we’ll have to be patient through six more weeks of winter. While we may not get an early spring or a quick vaccine rollout, Bay Weekly aims to help to make the wait as painless as possible.