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COVID-19 reports induce whiplash

Can anyone recommend a good doctor? I have a bad case of whiplash.

I’m sure I’m not alone with the endless swings between good news and bad news and the one-step-forward, two-steps-back progress on COVID-19 and the vaccine rollout.

The contradictions can be found daily and particularly are noticeable on the entertainment beat.

Yay! The Warren Italian-American Heritage Festival returns this year.

Whack! Wings and Wheels won’t.

Yay! River Rock at the Amp announces its summer lineup.

Whack! JAC Live cancels Y-Live with Luke Bryan at Stambaugh Stadium.

I wrote those contrasting stories on the same day. The Italian fest and Wings and Wheels were combined into the same story.

It remains a weird time to be an entertainment writer, and it’s even worse for the people who make their living performing at or working on those events that are endlessly postponed / rescheduled / canceled altogether.

Working weeks and months on something only to have it snuffed out must be frustrating. When someone is depending upon the paycheck that canceled event would have provided, it goes from frustrating to frightening.

I’ve done the one thing I can do to help bring those events back — I got my second COVID-19 vaccination last week.

According to the latest statistics, just over 26 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated and more than 40 percent have their first shot. But I’ve also heard stories about people who got their first shot and didn’t return for the second and that many vaccination sites now have more doses than they have arms to inject.

That baffles me.

There are people who have been yelling for nearly a year that the economic impact of a shutdown is a greater loss than thousands of people dying daily from a virus. There are people who believe one of the many illustrious achievements of our last president is fueling the development of this miracle vaccine. It’s an achievement so great, it merits … oh, I don’t know, spending $300,000 to name a state park after him.

The part that baffles me is that the ones who most want an unhampered economy, who most want to give the host of “The Apprentice” credit for developing the vaccine, are the ones making like Randy Jackson and saying, “Naw, dawg, that’s a no from me,” when it comes time to sign up for the shot.

I did my best to take the easiest science classes possible to earn my English / journalism degree from Miami University (the space physics class I took was known on campus as “physics for poets and basket weavers”). But unlike the governor of Texas, I know you can’t achieve herd immunity with a 40 or 50 percent vaccination rate.

I’m looking forward to eating inside a restaurant again (something haven’t done in six months and only twice in the last year). I’m going to St. Louis to visit a friend in June and to see the Indians play the Cardinals.

I’m drooling over the lineup for WonderBus music festival in Columbus (where Aug. 29 headliner Wilco should include the song “A Shot in the Arm” in its setlist) and adding other concerts to my work calendar.

But the only way WonderBus — or whatever event anyone else is looking forward to — will go on as scheduled is if the case numbers and death numbers continue to decline and the vaccination rates keep going up.

Getting the vaccine not only will save lives, it will prevent more whiny columns like this one.

Andy Gray is the entertainment editor of Ticket. Write to him at agray@tribtoday.com.

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