Throughout the pandemic our LGBTQ community has witnessed and felt the disproportionate economic, health, and mental health impacts of COVID-19. We have lost far too many. Our community also knew how to respond, how to adapt, how to welcome in new habits for the sake of public health and safety. We are no strangers to facing off against a global pandemic. As COVID rates are again on the rise, we must again reimagine our approach to mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and the newly emerging variants.
Since March 1, 91.9% of all COVID-19 cases in San Diego County are found in residents who are not fully vaccinated. Vaccines are working. Masks are working. These tools only work if we use them and encourage others to do the same. New habits come hard, and new tools like vaccines and consistent mask use can understandably seem uncomfortable and even scary.
Unfortunately, early on in the pandemic, the virus and the tools to combat it were politicized, and misinformation spread quickly. Our collective efforts to combat that misinformation and vaccine hesitancy have now been outpaced by the spread of the virus itself. How can we fight back?
In the fight for our rights and protections, we have learned that changing hearts and minds comes down to personal connection, having the tough conversations with people you know and love. Educating ourselves and those around us about the personal experiences, fear, love, and loss we have felt to build upon our existing solidarity.
As we attempt to emerge from a year and a half of isolation, there are still things we need to do if we truly want to end COVID-19:
At Pride we are beginning to bring people back together in outdoor public spaces, but we know we are not out of the pandemic yet. We are hopeful that by July of next year we will be able to bring back a Pride Parade and Festival at the scale of celebration we’ve come to know and love. There is a long road between today and 11 months from now. It will take all of us working to end this pandemic and to bring back Pride. I’m hopeful we can get there and show the world that our community is truly Resilient.
Fernando Zweifach López
San Diego Pride