Chelsea lost one of its all-time greats this week with the passing of Elizabeth “Liz” McBride on Monday morning at the age of 100.
Liz served on the Chelsea School Committee for decades and was instrumental in forwarding the Chelsea-Boston University Partnership in the 1990s that transformed our school system, paving the way both for new schools and new leadership that rescued the once-proud Chelsea schools after years of neglect.
Liz was a true Chelsea girl, a member of the CHS Class of 1939, who referred to themselves as the ‘39ers and who continued to gather for decades after their graduation.
Liz McBride blazed a trail in many respects, including becoming the first female member of the Chelsea Kiwanis Club. In the political realm, Liz was a fierce rival who stood up for what she believed in, but at the end of the day, she possessed that admirable quality of being able to disagree without being disagreeable.
Liz was the matriarch of a large and extended family who resided on Sagamore Ave. in Prattville for many years. She was married for 67 years to John McBride, who passed away 10 years ago at the age of 90.
We know we join with all of our fellow residents in offering our condolences to the McBride family upon the loss of this wonderful woman.
May she rest in peace.
We must be wary of the virus
With the arrival of the vaccines and the spring season, it is clear that there is a light at the end of the tunnel from our year-long battle with COVID-19.
However, the good news that has been seen in the past month across the country, in terms of dramatic reductions in cases, deaths, and hospitalizations, by no means should make any of us think that we can let our guard down against this shape-shifting, deadly virus.
The variants of COVID-19 that are working their way through our population are more contagious and thought to be deadlier than the original, and may even present a challenge to the efficacy of the vaccines.
In addition, very few of us actually have been vaccinated. Although the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine was approved for use this past weekend, the company will not be able to begin distributing its vaccine in large numbers until the end of March.
While it may be true that we are winning the war against COVID, every American must realize that COVID-19 is a hunter and we are its prey. Until each of us can get vaccinated over the next two months, we must remain vigilant and practice all of the things we have been doing to stay safe for the past year — wearing a mask, avoiding large groups, washing our hands frequently, and staying six feet apart from others.
The finish line is in sight — let’s go strong to the end.
A future with masks?
There has been one positive piece of news during the otherwise tragic COVID-19 pandemic, and that is this: The number of deaths and severe illness caused by the ordinary flu is down dramatically from a typical flu season.
Epidemiologists credit this downturn to a number of factors: International travel is virtually non-existent, people are not gathering in large groups, people are working from home (and therefore not going into their offices while sick), more people got their flu shots than ever, and most of us are wearing masks.
Although the reduction in the number of deaths from the regular flu by no means offsets the increase in the deaths from COVID-19 — COVID is estimated to be 5-10 times deadlier than the seasonal flu — the substantial reduction in deaths from the ordinary flu gives us some hope that the lessons we have learned during this year of COVID-19 may enlighten us as to how to combat less-deadly viruses in the future.
In addition, there is no doubt that the incredible effort by the scientific community to develop an effective vaccine against COVID-19 in such a short time will pay fruits in terms of our understanding of other illnesses and our ability to fight them.