It was raining profusely in New York as I wrote these words.
Roads turned into rivers. Driving was extremely difficult, even dangerous. The subway was filled with water.
This image does not help us get into the summer holiday spirit.
And yet, we are almost at the halfway point of summer.
We cannot delay for too much longer the decision about whether or not to go on vacation to the motherland.
Last year, of course, most of us stayed in America. The coronavirus overshadowed everything. We were stuck in our homes.
No one could even imagine being locked up in a plane for ten hours.
But two years in a row is a different matter.
Greece is a special place in the summer.
So, many of us couldn’t wait for the pandemic to end so that we could visit Greece this year.
The miracle happened. Bourlas and Pfizer and others discovered the vaccine. Most of us were vaccinated at the first opportunity. So we are ready.
Without the vaccine I would not even think about traveling.
A few days ago, I asked a waiter at a restaurant in Astoria that I have gotten to know over the years if he was planning on visiting Greece this year. (A quick aside: have you noticed how many new and nice Greek businesses, mainly restaurants, have opened in Astoria? It is unbelievable.)
"No," he replied, somewhat annoyed. "They tell me I have to get a vaccine to go. But I'm not going to do it. And now I read in The National Herald about the new explosion with the Delta mutation in Greece. I am not going."
Of course, it is (still) his right not to get the vaccine.
But I confess that I find it very difficult to understand his denial.
Billions of people have already been vaccinated. Among them, let's say, 1000 got sick. Is that too many? And, anyway, is it certain that they got sick from the vaccine?
If one looks at the issue of the vaccine from a scientific point of view and not from a political or even religious point of view – nevertheless, our Archbishops and Patriarch are telling us to get vaccinated – there is no doubt that it saved us. Tens of millions of people (at least) could have died without it and not the four million who have died so far.
And, in addition, there are so many studies showing that vaccines also protect us from the Delta variant of the virus which has now spread worldwide.
These are the facts. There is really no excuse to not get vaccinated, regardless of age.
The time is approaching when countries will be forced to make the choice to make vaccination mandatory in order to protect the anti-vaxxers themselves, as well as the rest of their populations.
As far as I am concerned, I am preparing to go on holiday to Greece safely, knowing that I have had both vaccine doses.
In addition, I will not stop wearing the mask on the plane, and in crowded places.
As for those of you who refuse to see reality, I will drink ouzo to your health.