Optimism grows over more COVID vaccinations; public health experts urge continued vigilance

Psychology of Reopening
A woman receives the COVID-19 vaccine.
A woman receives the COVID-19 vaccine. (Source: WBRC)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - As more COVID-19 vaccines are available and more of the local economy reopens some people say they are feeling more optimistic that an end to the pandemic is in sight. But an LSU Health psychologist urges everyone to continue to take the necessary precautions against the virus.

Kathy Keller was out in City Park enjoying Friday’s great weather.

“I have to tell you, I am ridiculously exuberant. I have had both shots, I’m over 65 and it’s incredible, yes, I’m very optimistic for the future,” she said.

A woman who only wanted to use the name “Patty” was with her and said she too is feeling more hopeful.

“I definitely am feeling more optimistic. I got my shot the day before yesterday. The first shot made me feel great,” she said.

To date, millions of Americans are now vaccinated and in Louisiana, more of the economy has reopened. “I think things are moving for the better,” said Keller.

And President Joe Biden is calling on all states to make all adults eligible for vaccinations by May 1. Right now, only certain adults are eligible in Louisiana.

Dr. Michelle Moore is a LSU Health clinical psychologist. She said the progress made in fighting the virus is giving some people more hope.

“I think all the good news brings hope, people are finally like there is a light at the end of the tunnel, the tunnel has been very long, right? They’ve been running this marathon a year now and that feeling that I think we’re close to the finish line, which is a wonderful feeling, right?” said Moore.

But Biden and Louisiana’s governor along with public health experts urge everyone to continue to mask, and practice social distancing and other precautions. “It’s really important to make sure that you still remain patient, that you remain vigilant, that you don’t completely let your guard down just yet while you are in the state of hopefulness,” Dr. Moore stated.

Bob Tebo was masked while awaiting a public transit bus. But he said too many people still refuse to do so.

“Everybody doesn’t apply by the rules,” he said. “I am a religious masker, yes,” said Keller.

Moore amid the optimism it remains important to temper expectations.

“But it is hard sometimes to realize that you still have to find that balance between allowing that goodness of hope and allowing those good feelings to exist while also remaining vigilant,” she said.

And she said it is important to recognize that not everyone feels so hopeful given many people have lost employment and loved ones due to the virus.

“While you may feel hopeful, having that empathy, having that compassion and that understanding of your fellow human, that not everybody might not be feeling that same way,” said Moore.

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