This is normally carnival season in Nice, but not this year. In place of the usual floats in Place Masséna that signal the season, there sits a moving sculpture at the entry to the Promenade de Paillon titled “Carnavalovirus.”
It took a while before I could pronounce the word and had to break it down into simple syllables to get it right: CAR-NA-VAL-Ō-VĪ-RUS. “Carnavalovirus” represents a large coronavirus placed on Earth and decorated with a crown. A pedal allows passers-by to inject it with the vaccine through a large moving syringe planted in the middle of the “spicules.” This is a new word for me, too—”spicules” (pronounced SPI-KYÜLS). “Spicules are any of various small needle-like anatomical structures occurring in organisms.” These are the red protrusions that look like golf tees with a flowery shape at the wide end that jut out from the orb of the organism. Otherwise, there are no other real signs of carnival except the Mimosa flowers for sale everywhere you look that normally we’d see adorn the floats of the “Batailles de Fleurs.” Nope. No Batailles de Fleurs parade to watch go by this year.
Meanwhile, I’m part of the “forgotten group.” I’m not one of the 1 million people in France who have already gotten both doses of the anti-Covid vaccine. Another 2.4 million people have at least gotten their first injections. It’s still a slow start and we must have patience. All in good time…as the French have a very strictly designed order for the vaccine rollout…but clearly not fast enough.
If you’re over 75 years old or fit into another category, such as having a serious health condition or “lucky” enough to be a healthcare professional, then you’re good to go. People aged between 50 and 64 can qualify as long as they have a health condition such as diabetes. My group, the 65 to 74 year-olds are the “forgotten group”—both too young and too old for the first phase. We’re part of phase 2.
It looks like my group will become eligible in March, if all goes well. We’re set to get the Pfizer BioNTech or the Moderna vaccines. Phase 3 will be open to the general population with some priorities, but by the time this happens, the vaccines will be widely accessible via pharmacies, vaccine centers, general practitioners, nurses and midwives. France’s goal is to have all those who wish to be inoculated injected by the end of the summer.
Not everyone is so enthusiastic about the vaccines because of the reports about side effects and adverse reactions. Some people very close to me send me anti-vaccine information on an almost daily basis. It’s tough to know what to believe, but for me it’s all about the risk factor. Unfortunately, I’m in that high-risk group because of age alone. Still, I seriously believe that I’m not destined to get infected, and so far, that’s been true, whether it’s thanks to my positive thinking or being generally respectful and cautious, without being too self-restricting.
Nice, where I am at the moment, and the entire Alpes-Maritimes region, is faced with a current surge of the virus. The incidence rate of the epidemic here in Nice is more than three times higher than the national average of 190 with 751 positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants. As a result, it will get special consideration to distribute the vaccine in this area, where there is also a strong presence of the British variant.
Why am I here and not in the safer city of Paris? The answer is simple: the sun, the sea, the warmer climate and the ability to be outdoors getting a good dose of Vitamin D. I needed it badly.
Why the region is seeing such a surge is everyone’s guess. Confinement measures are strictly in place. Restaurants and cafés are closed except for take-out, which is making us all a bit nuts. With such beautiful weather, we’re anxious to at least have lunch “en terrasse” like we used to. With curfew at 6 p.m., there’s little time to have much of a life, except for doing our daily marketing or taking a stroll along the Promenade des Anglais…something I’ve taken to doing daily.
Israel is seeing such a reduction in cases, thanks to the Pfizer vaccine that is proving to be 95.8 percent effective against contamination. Along with their aggressive rollout of the vaccine that allowed them to administer millions of doses very quickly, Israel is lifting a lot of its confinement measures. Here in Nice, we await a new announcement for further confinement measures in reaction to the spike with no decline in immediate sight.
With the race to fix this worldwide pandemic problem comes some very creative and innovative thinking. The vaccines are just the beginning of the solutions. There’s a new French nasal spray by the P & B Group that claims to eliminate 99 percent of the virus. The ionized water spray is scheduled to hit the shelves in March, but it’s not a cure—just a preventative measure. I’m all for it. Designed to eliminate the virus from the nasal passages within 30 seconds, it could easily reduce the spread of the virus up to 90 percent. This I prefer to the vaccine, that is if it will be considered as serious an antidote as the vaccine.
I know we’re all going to be a lot happier when we can finally feel safe from Covid-19, when we can return to a more normal life, even with some of the changes we’ve made that may stay in our lives forever—like wearing a mask when we’re sick to prevent others from getting sick, too, or Zooming our business meetings from home instead of commuting in to an office. No doubt this whole experience has changed our lives forever, no matter how well we survive this confounded pandemic. And I must say that it certainly will make for a more interesting life to look back on when we do.
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group®
P.S. Visit our Après-Midi page and see the future. Who will be speaking next? What will their presentations be about? And plan to attend them all!