Both Frederick city and the state of Maryland have not yet turned the corner on the COVID-19 pandemic. But those who are affected are getting better more quickly than before. Fewer of them are needing ventilators.

Yet, the death rate is still worrisome. It is heartbreaking to see a loved one die alone and isolated without anyone holding their hand or touching the person. This has happened to a lot of people around the country in the past 18 months. The trauma of that experience would continue to haunt us forever. Now that the situation has improved, it gives us new hope.

Frederick has been blessed compared to other big cities like New York or New Orleans. It remains relatively safe. Compared to its population, the number of its affected people has remained low. As a result, health care workers have been able to work with patients and give them the attention they deserve.

At a number of places in the city the signs read, “Heroes work here.” Immediately it comes to mind that a health care worker — a nurse, therapist or a technician — works on the premises. When one is healthy, one does not think much of those who toil in the health care field. But in a time like this, when a pandemic is rising high, a health care worker becomes an angel from heaven.

COVID-19 is a dangerous disease which affects not only the patients but also people around them. The care provider at the hospital becomes the only conduit between the ill and his or her family members. This pandemic has taken the lives of many health care workers. At the beginning nobody knew much about COVID-19. Health professionals were not aware how dangerous it is or could be.

So they did not take as much precaution they should have. Therefore, care facilities became spreading grounds for the virus and killed both patients and their caregivers. A local nursing home became ground zero for the area. Once word got around that we were dealing with a highly contagious virus, everyone — health care workers specifically — became extra careful. Those among them who were affected by it but survived the pandemic suffered ailments of many kinds. There were those who had to face slow death for years. They and their loved ones deserve our prayers. It is their sacrifice both individual and collective that helped us remain safe. Then there are heroes who carried on the mission.

They are also human. Long hours of work, seeing multiple patients die while in their care stresses them out. This affects them both in body and mind. They get burned out. Many of them have quit their hospital jobs to do something else. At the same time, there are others who in the face of the pandemic have become more determined to carry on. They want to help others. A whole lot of people need their help, and they know it.

Recently, the Great Frederick Fair took place. On Columbus Day weekend, Thurmont had its Colorfest. Thousands of people gathered. At both places, people tried to enjoy themselves. Any gathering like this increases the possibility of spreading the virus and increasing the number of infected patients.

The good news is that nearly three quarters of the people in our area have been vaccinated. Barring some rare instances, vaccinated people have shown resistance to infection. Yet, without a mask, they have the ability to infect others. The vaccine provides protection. However, everyone does not have the same level of immunity. Without following the protocol, a few — even if vaccinated — can still become ill. As the number of infected rises, the death toll goes up comparatively.

Vaccination helps lower the number. The percentage of people who will die with or without a mask or vaccine becomes meaningless as heartbreak and loss caused by deaths of loved ones overpower many lives. While going through our daily lives, we have to think about the pandemic and its effect on us.

Anadi Naik writes from Frederick. His books are: Blown Away; A Man of Humility; Nineteenth of November; and Song of Satan available from and Barnes and Noble bookstores.

(2) comments


“Barring some rare instances, vaccinated people have shown resistance to infection. Yet, without a mask, they have the ability to infect others. The vaccine provides protection. However, everyone does not have the same level of immunity.” No one really knows how their immune system responded, how often it is tested, or how many times it can be tested before it fails.


I disagree with the author's statement that healthcare worker did not take the precautions they should have at the beginning of the pandemic. At least those in the US knew the virus was very dangerous because it had already hit Asia and Europe before coming here. The problem was that there was already a severe PPE shortage, so hospitals and nursing homes literally ran out of N-95 masks and surgical masks. I was among many who called for the federal government to make companies and/or the military produce masks, but that never happened. It wasn't until we were well into the pandemic that it was discovered that cloth masks offered some protection. And somehow our then president and his supporters made mask wearing and testing into political issues. Trump downplayed both, especially when his own science advisors like Fauci and Birx insisted they were needed. Birx later said that over 100,000 Americans died of COVID because of Trump.

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