Ladies and gentlemen, under the Covid big-top tonight, we have the most confusing and frustrating show on earth.

This performance, and all future performances, are sold out. Standing room only, if you can find a place to stand.

Attempting to get a seat — that is, a shot in the arm — is near impossible. The lines of people waiting for the injection stretch out of sight.

We can meet all the criteria for admission and still not get into the big show. Who is running the show? It’s not Ringmaster Donald. He was left behind at the last town. Make no mistake, though. The Donald was once the master who introduced all the eye-popping havoc in the three rings. 

Now, the master’s whip has been passed to Old Joe. We are putting our bets on him — or not — as the coronavirus circus rages on. 

It seems many of us are giving up on entering the big tent, hoping the small town carnival might be what we get. Regardless, there’s got to be vaccine peace of mind somewhere.

It may be that the big top is giving way to Covid tourism, which requires seekers to ride from county to county, from town to town, to try and get an anti-virus injection.

We’ve called on the phones for available places but have gotten answers that spin in circles. Try here or there — in any medical direction — and see what you can find. Most of the information we receive leads us down a dead-end road. 

The much-ballyhooed Covid vaccination rollout didn’t even get to New Haven before it bombed. Most of us down here in the Deep South are out searching each day for a place to get a shot. And finding only frustration.

Word is only about 5 percent or less of the population has received the necessary two-dose vaccine shot thus far. That’s pitiful. 

Appointment waiting lists are all we get, but who feels safe waiting. Covid is an invisible invader, until it becomes a deadly killer. We never know where the virus is lurking or where shots may be  given until they are all gone. Very little is known in advance.

The simple truth is demand outweighs available doses. So, there’s got to be a better system of distribution coming our way. It can’t get much worse. But maybe there’s a peek of light on the horizon.

Officials keep announcing more shots are in the pipeline, that there’s a better, more organized distribution system in the works, but, alas, we sit and wait with our sleeves rolled up.

For many of us, our hope is that we can outlast the virus. But then we learn there are new variants from South Africa, the UK, Brazil in the mix lurking about, waiting to catch us off guard.  

A very big eye-opener is the new container now in the marketplace. It’s a simple black plastic, two-piece coffin. Are we running out of regular funeral home caskets? 

This new made-in-China black box — tell us it’s not molded in Wuhan — is now available. Where bodies from the virus pile up, we learn they are quickly hauled away in these plastic containers, ready to be dropped in the ground.

No time to fool around. Just drop the Covid-filled corpses in the boxes and haul them away. Now that’s what we call planning. Maybe the plastic coffin folks should be in charge of the vaccinations. They seem to be thinking ahead.

Seriously, have you ever seen a scary national emergency handled so poorly? A year into the deadly virus and we are still trying to figure out a workable plan of action. A big "F" for the planners.

Alabama officials say they inform the feds the amount of vaccine we need, but the amount the state receives is far shorter than what we need. 

Surge after surge keeps coming, each catching us more off guard. The virus and its foreign carnival cousins may not go away until at least 80 percent of the population is vaccinated. That’s what the experts say. Does this mean another extended period of waiting?

The virus is no longer a spectator sport. We are at war with this monster. But our failure at the national level to take this seriously at the start proves we are running hard at this time just to catch up. Thus far, the virus, wearing its best track shoes, is still way out in front. We’re told we are gaining on it, but who really knows.

If we wish to catch and overtake it, we’re going to have to run very hard, very fast, in a straight way, with an organized plan. My best wish is to see all of us safe across the finish line.


Ralph Morris is a retired newspaperman who lives near Auburn. His email address is

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