August 10, 2021 by Ally Donnelly
Sonia Steele was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis a little more than three years ago. Flare ups are triggered by stress and environmental factors. So when a worldwide pandemic hit, the Hingham mom and her family did what they had to do. They locked their lives down. “It was isolating,” she said, “But you do what you can with the information you have.”
When vaccines were approved for emergency use, Steele rolled up her sleeve as fast as possible. “I did a happy dance,” she says. “I was giddy.” But bad news followed. Testing showed her body didn’t “take” to the vaccine. Like many other immuno-compromised people, she didn’t develop the antibodies she’d need to battle the virus.
Many of “us” were able to let our guard down this summer. We went to cookouts and concerts, movies and museums, often without masks or fear. We talked with people around town last week, taking the temperature of the community. Emotions ranged from frustration and sadness at the prospect of returned restrictions to fear and anger. “I get it,” Steele said. “It’s scary.” But she doesn’t get the luxury of letting her own anger and frustration fester. “I have to ask myself, is this worth a wheelchair? And the answer is always no.”
In this episode, Steele shares what the past year plus has been like for her family and what she wants from the community now. “I don't feel like the high risk community as a whole is necessarily being seen in Hingham.”
We also talk with Julia Raifman at the Boston University School of Public Health. As Covid spreads around the country, sending more and more kids to the hospital, she shares Massachusetts data and how the numbers could play out. We talk about mask policies, schools and the mental health fallout for this pandemic wave. Join the conversation.