I am trying to sort through in my head the various pieces of conflicting pandemic news, not having the best time of it.

My mom has gotten her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, and is scheduled for the second dose later this week. Her husband is getting his first dose today. A number of friends who are nurses have already been vaccinated, and my town ran a week-long vaccination clinic for first-responders. That’s all awesome news.

Meanwhile, the news is filled with stories from across the country of long lines and confusing websites, of cancelled appointments, of both vaccine shortages and doses going bad sitting on the shelf. New strains of the virus are more contagious, maybe more deadly, or maybe both, and the Moderna vaccine could possibly be less effective against some of the new strains.

That’s not so awesome.

While it would obviously be better had the previous administration done anything at the federal level to coordinate the vaccine rollout, they did not. As a result, we are left with the current mess, in which states and municipalities have been left to fend for themselves as best they can. Of course it’s going to be a disorganized patchwork.

I tend to think most of that mess will get sorted out over time, but the big question at the moment seems to be “How much time?” Yes, it’s like the healthcare.gov roll-out—a huge mess and a big kerfuffle at the time, but basically fine after a few months—except with the added pressure of out-of-control spread of a deadly disease. Unless enough parts of the country stay sufficiently locked down over the next few months to avoid a massive spread of the new COVID strains (SPOILER ALERT: They won’t), then we are likely looking at hundreds of thousands more deaths before vaccinations can get to the point where they will make a difference.

So I guess we’re still in the “It’s going to get worse before it gets better” phase, and I am pretty tired of being in that phase.