Flames of the Torch: The return to normalcy is slowly approaching with vaccine

As we head into the second month of 2021 we continue to see the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.  The distribution of the vaccine throughout the U.S. and the world gives us hope that an end to the pandemic is in the near future, as is a return to some semblance of normalcy. 

The vaccine brings the hope that the Fall 2021 semester on campus will once again be buzzing with students rushing to classes and meeting up with friends inside DAC to try and score tickets at Campus Concierge for the latest Broadway hit. We can only hope that in the fall there will be no more near-empty residence halls and classrooms, and that Tip-Off will once again welcome students as a celebration of school pride.

St. John’s is patiently awaiting this return to normalcy. In this past week, staff writer Andrea Pesantes voiced her opinion on what she thinks will continue to be a bumpy ride to immunity for the U.S. In addition, contributing writer Jennalynn Fung honed in on the SJU community’s own connection to this vaccine, as she spoke to a St. John’s College of Pharmacy Alumnus who played a role in the historic first vaccination in New York City.  Anthony J. Longo, Sr., Pharm.D. ‘92P, Director of Pharmacy and Clinical Services at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills, was part of the team that prepared the very first dose of the vaccine in New York on Dec. 14. Both St. John’s alumni and students appear to be patiently awaiting their turn in line for the vaccine and aiding in any way they can distribute it to those who come before them. 

The Torch is optimistic in the good that the vaccine will foster as more people around the country are vaccinated. It has already been positive for our healthcare workers and the members of our communities that are at high risk for complications from the virus — ensuring that they are the first to be protected from this life-engulfing pandemic. We simply cannot wait for the day that we become eligible to receive the vaccine ourselves and edge closer to the light at the end of the tunnel.

While the road ahead is a slow one, it is only a matter of time now until we, as a country, reach herd immunity and can begin to return to some sense of normalcy. Although, what normalcy will look like in a post-COVID-19 world still remains largely unknown. Will the stands of Carnesecca Arena ever be filled with eager fans again? Will we wait on long lines with our friends to grab late night meals from the Red Storm Diner? Will we even take a study day in the packed library during finals week?  Our only hope is that we will progress into this new sense of normal sooner rather than later. In the meantime, all we can say is to continue to follow safety protocols to keep yourself and others safe until the day you receive that vaccine yourself – and even then we must continue to abide by these guidelines until we get things under control once and for all.