Thud. Slam. Screech. The sounds of my head banging on the wall, the doors of many art venues and restaurants slamming shut and the tires on my car on the pavement as I try to hit the mall for one last gift before the Christmas Grinch strikes again. Yes, Covid’s back. Santa, I’ve been good all year, really. Sort of. Maybe. Well, mostly. But I’ve done nothing to deserve this.
I’d hoped that the advent of the Omicron variant would take its sweet time in appearing, that I’d make it through a small Christmas gathering with a few family members. Ha!-of course not. Plans weren’t finalized until a week ago and even yesterday morning we were still playing around with the menu and the inside/outside decision when the phone rang.
A short conversation with a relative: “Covid’s here in the house so we can’t come there, you can’t come here. Quarantine for at least a week, maybe more.” Our small five person Christmas is down to three. Oh well. We’ll have fun, take the boat out, drive around, eat cookies.
One hour later, another call from another relative: “Covid’s here, niece’s boyfriend’s father in the hospital with Covid, on a ventilator.” They weren’t coming here, but still…sad news.
Yes, I checked, it is a full moon.
Here in Sarasota and back on Cape Cod we’ve been pretty insulated from Covid over the past year and three quarters (hard to believe this only started in February 2020) but it looks like Omicron is going to be much more pervasive than Alpha, Beta or even Delta. Hopefully less virulent but that remains to be seen.
In Florida, it’s hard to tell how many cases of Covid are in our area. We do have the Surgeon General who doesn’t believe in masks or vaccines but does think that horse de-wormer is worth a shot. At least in Sarasota our hospital, Sarasota Memorial puts Covid cases and testing results on their web site Monday through Fridays. The Mayo Clinic has a great Covid tracking site as well. Otherwise, we’d never know anything. Right now it looks like 90% of people over 65 are fully vaccinated. Sadly, booster shots lag substantially and the general vaccine percent for those under 65 drops to about 70%. It’s not enough. According to people way smarter than I, we need over 90% of the total population vaccinated to put this virus back in its box.
Unfortunately, Omicron apparently doesn’t much care if you’ve been vaccinated once, twice or three times. Right now, there are lots of anecdotal stories of fully vaccinated and boosted people who have it anyhow. Mild symptoms, but still, it’s Covid.
It looks like travel to Europe or anywhere outside the US is going to be problematic over the next month or so until Omicron gets sorted out. The EU is trying to have a unified approach, but that seems unlikely since France won’t allow anyone to enter from Britain without a “compelling reason” which would not include tourism or business. If you’re abroad and you contract Covid, you’ll have to figure out where you’ll quarantine, until when, who’ll pay, how to rearrange your flight home and a million other things. “We’ll see” is the watchword for international travel now.
I’d hoped to never write another post about Covid, but here we are again. I’ll let you know if I see any good news, but until then, where the hell is my mask?