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About The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current | View Entire Issue (March 1, 2021)
Page 6 n THE ASIAN REPORTER
March 1, 2021
Volume 31 Number 3
March 1, 2021
The Asian Reporter is published
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Marie Lo, Simeon Mamaril, Julie Stegeman,
Toni Tabora-Roberts, Allison Voigts
Illustrator Jonathan Hill
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Copyright 2021. Opinions expressed in this newspaper are
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n Dmae Roberts
The new normal
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t’s hard to believe it’s been nearly a year since
rigorous handwashing, sanitizing, quaran-
tining, and mask-wearing began. I’ve been
more restless at home recently, especially since
February’s snow and ice. Other times when I’ve felt
a bit of cabin fever, I just walked outside, especially
when there was sunshine. But with the slippery ice,
it felt unsafe, so I stayed indoors. Luckily, we didn’t
lose power like those who were without electricity
for many days or, for some, more than a week. Many
thought, “What more do we have to deal with during
About 8.4% of Oregonians are fully vaccinated so
far, with about 15.0% having received at least a first
dose. In Washington state, 7.6% are fully
inoculated, with 14.9% having received a first dose.
Oregon governor Brown recently announced some
public schools will re-open. Along with the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention and the Oregon
Health Authority, the governor is urging everyone
to continue to wear face coverings, maintain social
distance, and wash their hands regardless of their
Like many people, I wonder when it will be my
turn to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. It seems
like a lot of us are not in the first few priority groups.
Until more vaccines doses are produced and
distributed, we must remain patient.
I understand why healthcare workers, emergency
service providers, and first responders were
vaccinated first. As of March 1, 2021, vaccine slots
for people 65 years and older opened up (those age
80 and older were eligible February 8, 75+ on
February 15, and 70+ on February 22). I visited the
Oregon Health Authority’s COVID vaccine website,
<covidvaccine.oregon.gov>, to learn more. In
addition to information about vaccine safety and
effectiveness, the sequencing plan, frequently
asked questions, and a chart listing how many doses
have been allocated, I found a form to determine my
Some of the questions were:
1. Do you live, work, or volunteer in a healthcare
2. Are you a last responder (e.g., state or medical
examiner, autopsy technician, forensic admini-
strator, forensic anthropologist, medical-legal death
investigator, mortician, funeral home worker, etc.)?
3. Do you have a medical condition or disability
and require an outside healthcare professional or
direct care personnel to deliver in-home services in
4. Do you work or volunteer as an emergency
medical services (EMS) provider or first responder?
5. Do you work or volunteer in a correctional
6. Do you work in an early learning or childcare
7. Do you work at a public or private K-12 school?
8. What is your date of birth?
I answered “no” to questions 1 through 7 and
entered my birthday. I was declared ineligible and
received a message to stay tuned for news and
A bit of a silver lining was announced in
February, though, when President Joe Biden said
that nearly every American should be able to
receive a vaccination by the end of July. “Okay, I can
wait until then,” I thought.
I began dreaming about possible short trips I
could plan. How lovely would it be to have a little
late summer travel? I miss the excitement of getting
into the car and driving to the Oregon Coast. I
reminisced about the calm of breathing salty sea air
and walking on the beach.
Last summer my husband and I took a day trip to
Hood River. It’s always been a fun daytime outing
for us in the past. This time, however, it felt fraught
with caution. We ate lunch outside and only
removed our masks to take a bite. I worried when
someone coughed or walked nearby. We drove part
of the “Fruit Loop” — a 35-mile scenic drive of local
farms with produce stands — but this time it had
lost its allure. We used to love sampling different
fruit before buying some to take home; this time, we
worried about being around other people so we just
At a town hall held last month, President Biden
mentioned we might possibly be back to normal by
Christmas 2021. That offers some hope. Though
new coronavirus case counts and deaths are on a
downward trend, and more vaccines are being
administered, experts believe it could take more
than a year to reach herd immunity. There’s also
concern about variants of the virus (South Africa,
U.K., New York, California, etc.), which are
spreading. And what exactly does normal mean?
Can life ever be “normal” again?
We are forever changed as a society. For small
businesses, families with children, the elderly, the
unhoused, students, and others, the pandemic has
been devastating. Many people have lost loved ones
to this disease. Others are still struggling to over-
come long-term health issues caused by COVID-19.
But there are some things we’ve put into practice
that I hope we’ll keep. I’ve always thought people
rarely took cold and flu season seriously. It might be
Continued on page 7
Opinions expressed in this newspaper are those of the authors and not necessarily those of this publication.