Another COVID Year

Another year of the pandemic is ending. It has been a really rough year, and it looks like 2022 will begin with this horrible omicron wave continuing.

We've been lucky so far, despite a few contact-tracing notifications we've remained covid-free. My wife and I are both boosted, and the kids were finally able to be vaccinated in November. That's a huge relief though it seems the vaccines are not tremendously effective against omicron.

What's very disturbing to me is that, nearly two years into this mess, many people even in our fairly enlightened town want to pretend that it's over and that we can return to normal. I still see people without masks out in public, even in places with mask mandates. Our governor is resisting any new statewide protocols or mandates and seems pretty out-of-touch to me.

We're just finishing winter vacation with school starting on Monday. The teachers, quite understandably, want some extra time to get tested, get better masks, and prepare themselves with the latest safety protocols. Meanwhile, crazy entitled parents believe that the teachers should endanger themselves and our kids because a little extra time out of school would be an inconvenience for their schedules. Our school district has decided on an hour delay to the opening Monday, which seems a bit inadequate to me, but at least it gives the teachers a little bit of breathing room.

Looking back at the past year is a bit depressing. I spent most of the year dealing with my bad knee, culminating in a partial knee replacement in September. I am still in recovery from the surgery though things are starting to get better. In-person school has been really good for my kids, but I am terrified that they will be exposed to covid at school.

Right now, as the year draws to a close, the numbers in Massachusetts are terrible. Our positivity rate is crazy-high and I am starting to feel like I am almost certainly exposed at least a little pretty much any time I leave the house. My wife and I both had sore throats over the last few days, so we took covid tests before visiting with my parents. Thankfully both were negative. We have good quality masks, are fully vaccinated/boosted, and take as many other precautions as possible, but we still don't feel particularly safe.

Looking ahead to 2022, omicron is here and cases are skyrocketing. I am slightly optimistic that this wave might not last too long here in Massachusetts, based on the findings coming out of South Africa where the wave has begun to subside. So maybe by February or March we'll be back in a lull. But then what? We have so many antivax lunatics in this country that it is hard to really imagine a way out of what has become the status quo. I think that the best likely outcome is that covid will become a seasonal annoyance like the flu, at least for people who keep up with their vaccinations/boosters. And of course it seems like a foregone conclusion that US deaths will top a million in the coming year.

That seems bleak, but I'll end by saying that I wish each and every one of us, a safe, happy, and healthy new year. May 2022 be the year when we finally beat this plague, and perhaps find some common ground with one another.