We are elated because there is good news on the pandemic front.

• Vaccines are now getting into the bodies of American citizens at a much quicker rate.  

• Johnson and Johnson’s new vaccine was not only approved for use, but rival drugmaker Merck and Co. will help produce it.

• Recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control show COVID-19 cases in the United States have declined for five consecutive weeks, and new hospitalizations have been consistently down since early January.

• Many other countries are reporting consistently declining numbers of new infections.

Other positive developments are coming from the pandemic. According to goodnewsnetwork.org:

• Applications to medical schools are on the rise, with young people inspired to fight disease with science.

• At least two vaccine makers — Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson — are using a not-for-profit model to sell their vaccines, helping get them to the most needy and often most vulnerable.

• India and New Zealand are buying vaccines for neighboring countries that can’t afford them.

• The Moderna vaccine is showing signs it can fight the UK variant with great success and also provide some protection against the South African variant.

Many of us are afraid to get “too happy” about an end to the pandemic that has lasted for more than a year. It seems as though we’ve expected an end to it several times in the last year, only to be disappointed.

But this time, we have the vaccine. Correction: We have three vaccines. And people are getting their doses. To end this nightmare, we must get vaccinated and continue to wear the dreaded masks, in addition to practicing good hygiene, which we should do regardless. There will come a time when we can truly get back to normal. But it’s not here yet. Meanwhile, wear your masks, get your vaccinations and keep your chin up.

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