Vaccine Hopes for 2021 Oaxaca Return

I’m sitting in a room on the precipice of the Rio Grande River Gorge in Taos, NM. Today begins a two-week statewide lockdown ordered by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. I am in the vacation home of lifelong friends who have been in my protective bubble for months in North Carolina. We will shelter in place together for the next two weeks before I return east.

Rio Grande River Gorge, Taos, NM

The scene in front of me is an expanse of southwest desert landscape dotted with scrub oak and tumbleweed. The gorge cuts through this landscape like a knife, making a deep incision where the river runs deep before it spills out into the flatter plain further south between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. In this distance, I see snow-capped mountains rising from the 7,000 foot plateau.

Ever hopeful, this morning, I wrote to my friend Carol with a proposal to meet in Oaxaca. When? Quien sabe?

Then, almost immediately, Scott’s Cheap Flights sends me a promising message: We can be optimistic about 2021 travel plans based on successful preliminary results reported by the New York Times. Pfizer-BioNTech has entered Phase 3 vaccine trial. Moderna is also reporting promising early results. Inovio moved from Phase 1 to Phase 2 clinical trials, and a vaccine from OncoSec Immunotherapies has been approved for Phase 1. There is hope for 90-94% effectiveness!

Here, out in the northern New Mexico wilderness, my activities will be limited to daily hikes and the day-to-day world of living indoors, cooking, eating, drinking, sleeping, staying healthy.

Governor’s Palace, Santa Fe Plaza

This news gives me pause to think about how and when we will return to Oaxaca in 2021. I’ve recently written that soon I will begin planning for our 2021 Day of the Dead Folk Art Study Tour. It’s important to focus on the future. I’ll announce this program in early December after I return to NC. We will still need to be cautious, wear masks, use sanitizer and wash hands liberally. But this news give us a sense of renewal that life will resume to some degree of normalcy in late spring or early summer 2021.

Ojala. God willing!

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