QUESTION: When will the lanes on Judson Road between Hoyt and Pegues Place be opened? Originally they were supposed to be open in August.

ANSWER: Back in June, Answer Line wrote about a parks and recreation advisory board meeting in which Scott Caron, the city’s parks and recreation director, told the group that he hoped work to take Phase 2 Guthrie Creek Trail construction under Judson Road would be finished before school started in August or soon after.

As often happens with construction, though, there was a significant, unexpected delay. Caron said construction hit an unmarked AT&T fiber line, and work there couldn’t proceed until AT&T completed its repairs and moved the equipment out of the way.

“It has taken a while to get that designed and constructed. Fortunately, that work has been completed,” he said in an email. “Some additional items need to be wrapped up so traffic can be shifted onto the east side making way for the completion of the new bridge.”

He said he hopes traffic is switched to the other side of Judson Road within the next month.

The good news, though, is that the overall project is much larger than what’s happening on Judson Road, and Caron said “the segment between McCann and Highway 80 at the trailhead for Boorman Trail is moving ahead steadily.” The 18 month-contract on the project would place the whole thing being completed at the end of summer 2021.

Q: Measles, mumps and polio are viruses we have largely controlled. The flu is a virus we maintenance against but have not controlled to the degree we have the others. Do they they think COVID is more like the flu? We may need a vaccine every year? I suppose there are different classes of viruses.

A: This virus’ place in this world is approaching about a year old, and there’s just so much we still don’t know even as we’re talking about vaccines.

Pfizer is one of the companies that has reported success on a COVID-19 vaccine. Here’s what that company’s media relations office told me when I posed questions to the company about how the virus compares to the flu virus in terms of how often vaccines might be needed and for how long the vaccine would be effective:

“We cannot make comparisons of our vaccine to the influenza vaccine. We are continuing to study the efficacy and safety of a COVID-19 vaccine and have not done any head-to-head comparison of two vaccines. The mechanism of action of traditional vaccines are also quite different than the mRNA-vaccine we are working on.”

Pfizer and Moderna, which also is reporting vaccine success, are using “messenger RNA” in their vaccines. I found a great NPR article that explained “messenger RNA” is being used to “turn patients’ cells into factories that make one particular coronavirus protein.”

“That protein kicks off an immune response as if there was a real coronavirus infection (to be clear, since it’s only one virus protein, there’s no way the vaccine could actually infect someone or make them sick with COVID-19),” the article states. “Then, if someone who was immunized gets exposed to the coronavirus later on, their body’s immune system will be able to fight it off more easily and they’re more likely to avoid serious illness.”

Flu viruses change often, so the vaccine needed to provide protection from one season to the next changes. Flu vaccines are made with both live, weakened viruses or viruses that have been inactivated or killed. Flu vaccines also take a couple of weeks to start providing protection, as your body builds up immunity to the virus.

All the things I’ve read about the two possible COVID-19 vaccines indicate that we don’t yet know for certain if the various vaccines that become available will require more than one dose or how long they’ll offer some kind of immunity or protection against COVID-19. I’m sure we’ll hear more about that in the coming months.

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