Friday, July 08, 2022

Life in the Time of the Virus: Endemic

No, it is not going away.

Boy and Moon, Hopper, 1907,
Whitney Museum

Cases went down, deaths went down, but the numbers have slowly been rising again. And the narrative has shifted a bit as well. Last time I wrote on the subject, my social media coverage has slid from "Person hating on vaccines gets COVID and dies" to "Famous person who is vaccinated has COVID, is OK, but is calling in sick for a while." Now I am getting a lot more "Friend/Colleague has COVID, is OK, but feels miserable." 

It does feel like we are undereporting when I compare the number of people I know with people who are being reported with COVID. It is a strong possibility, particularly if the cases among the vaccinated are merely horrible and not life-threatening. Still, there have been over a million deaths in the country since this situations started, with a lot more people sidelined with long-term effects. I know people are griping about how nobody wants to work anymore, but taking a million people out of the workforce has that sort of effect (though someone is probably researching "Animate Dead" to keep the MacDonald's functioning (though a better use of their research time would be "Animate Shake Machine" but then that's another set of gripes.))

The latest wrinkle is not just a new alphabetized variant, like Omicron, but now breaking down into subvariants. The one the is currently on the rise is B.A. 5, apparently named after B. A. (Bad Attitude) Baracus of the A-Team. This latest version is more contagious but less deadly, which is sort of the thing that a virus should evolve into, since an effective virus does not kill the host, but leaves them just wobbly enough to spread it around.

Anyway, a number of friends have called in with COVID over the past few weeks, and they are doing ... OK. Still in the category of "Worst Flu Evah." Our household has been unscathed so far, through both I and one of the housemates works from the home office. The other housemate is doing part time with the Lovely Bride's tax company. One of the housemates got their booster and spent a couple days laid up with a fever (though the fever has broken, and he's doing OK, thanks for asking). The pressures on the medical system has diminished to the point where the Lovely Bride had a knee replacement this past week, and is slowly recovering (She has moved from a walker to a cane, and again, thanks for your concern, but she's doing well.)

The Lovely Bride has also been dealing with a lot of external meetings for her tax groups. Last month, she and I went to a Water Park resort near Chehalis, Washington for a tax convention. I worked from the hotel room while the LB attended classes, then spent a couple hours riding water slides. Still, we emerged from this potential hotbed relatively unscathed. There were few masks, but people were still distancing well enough, though everyone has forgotten how elevators work (but that's another rant for another day.

I have had my second booster (amazingly quick, and got a 10% coupon from the Safeway for groceries), felt under the weather for a day, and moved forward.  Still, I tend to remain masked when out and about. Particularly if the staff is masked up, I will support that in solidarity. The masks really don't bother me - coming from Wisconsin we had these things called scarves, which were standard garb when the temperature dropped below freezing (which is to say, six months of the year). 

This may be as close to the "new normal" as we're going to get for a while. We may slide into annual COVID Vacs like flu shots, and every so often a news report talks about one group or another working on Vaccines. By the same taken, on our way to the theater the other day we saw a small band of protesters at the Gates Foundation (well-organized - pavilion, loudspeaker, matching t-shirts) consumed by a fever-dream of microchips. So we're still going to see people dying out there.

Stay aware, stay safe. More later,