COVID Confidential: #12 – Omicron Edition

I prematurely used the term “post-pandemic” in some of my previous blog posts. In my mind, when folks were getting vaccinated, I really thought we were on the road to recovery. As we drove away down this presumptive road, we’d be giving COVID the single-finger salute. But…

Another series of winter holidays have come and gone as we begin the yearly conversations of resolutions and life wishes. I personally always look forward to the new year. I see it as an opportunity to do more of the things I enjoy and find ways to create balance with the things that cause me disharmony. 

It may be time for us to set an extra place setting at the table for that unexpected and unwanted houseguest who could show up at any minute. If and when they do, we don’t have a clear timeframe of how long they plan on sticking around and have to accommodate them crashing the party, spoiling your weekend plans, or worse, your life. You attempt to starve this houseguest (the virus) to encourage them to go elsewhere and when they finally do leave, you count your blessings, and the antique silverware, to make sure all is intact. You later learn that the little old lady down the street welcomed the houseguest and now she’s on life support because the houseguest smothered her with attention. As you begin to drift off to sleep, you turn on a random television program for background noise, when you hear the host introduce a band that is taking the world by storm. I present to you, Corona & the Variants and their smash hit, “I’m Gonna Get You”; screams of terror erupt from the studio audience. You’re jolted from your slumber and realize it was all a very long and horrible dream. 

If only…

Like most people, the COVID virus suite (Delta & now Omicron) continues to remind us of how susceptible we are to a variety of deadly pathogens. What’s surprising to me are the folks that continue to dispute the seriousness of this global crisis. I was at the gym recently catching up with a gym friend that I haven’t seen in person for close to two years. We conversed about life changes during the pandemic and what plans we have for the new year. A somewhat elderly gentleman who was listening in on our conversation chimed in that he thinks all things
COVID-19, are a hoax. My friend and I grew wide-eyed in disbelief about what we just heard. We actually thought this guy was joking but he was completely serious.  

We are moving into the second year of this viral nightmare and there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight. I feel like the whole planet is caught up in a looping live-action version of the movies Contagion (2011), Groundhog Day (1993), and a touch of Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) mixed in for morbid surrealism. During our state of slumber, we’re fighting with all our might to wake up from this bad dream, but the evil Sandman just refuses to relinquish his/her hold. Anytime we feel ourselves waking, the Sandman strikes and we again fall into a state of slumber. 

My Christmas almost felt “normal”. Eric and I actually put up a Christmas tree and decorated the house. Joan, Eric’s mother, traveled from the frigid temperatures in North Dakota for her annual holiday visit. We planned our traditional prime rib and salmon dinner with all the tasty sides and invited a small group of friends (aka the Posse) and took the recommended precautions so we could safely gather. We are lucky that our group is fully vaccinated and boosted, but with several folks having recently traveled to destinations near and far, plus the rising Omicron cases, we took extra steps by taking rapid COVID tests before assembling for dinner. Taking a rapid test is and was easy. Finding them was a bigger challenge. Luckily, one of Santa’s fabulous helpers
(❤ A.M.) purchased and delivered test kits to each dinner guest in advance of their arrival. We wanted to make sure that everyone felt at ease and so we could enjoy each other’s company without having to worry about the potential communal risk. 

Some of you may be asking, why even bother? Or what would you (we) have done had someone tested positive? Whatever the outcome, the dinner was going to happen. If we couldn’t meet in person, we would have delivered dinner to the infected dinner guest(s). It’s not ideal, but this way everyone would be able to share a wonderful and delicious holiday meal. Fortunately we didn’t have to use the contingency plan. 

The new COVID variant makes me a little nervous, and I’m not alone. When fully vaccinated folks can still be infected, I wonder if it’s only a matter of time before everyone contracts the virus. For those of us who are vaccinated, the prognosis is rosier when it comes to recovery. For those folks who still refuse to get vaccinated or question the vaccine’s effectiveness, their recovery is uncertain. Over the weekend Eric was informed that a family member and their spouse were yet again in the hospital for COVID. They truly believe that the vaccine is a poison and thousands have died because of it. The troubling part was they had mentioned getting their information from a website featuring “reputable” doctors that reinforced their reasoning for not getting vaccinated. They are willing to take a chance without having to take the recommended remedy. 

It’s unfortunate that there is still so much misinformation being spread by what some people believe to be respectable and trustworthy sources. This isn’t only happening here in the US. I was speaking with a buddy of mine in Holland (Yes, I speak Dutch.) and he said that the government is also having to crack down on people and organizations spreading misinformation. Sadly when there is a crisis, there are always opportunists in the shadows waiting to feed off those who are more vulnerable and ill-informed. Just look at the number of scams that target the elderly. Or those authentic brand look-alike emails that claim you won something. All you have to do is “click here” to claim your prize. 

That loop I mentioned earlier is spinning at a dizzying and nauseating speed so hold on tight. It’s unfortunate that I, we, can’t yet use the term “post-pandemic” when we really don’t know where we are on the progression and eradication timelines. So much really depends on people getting vaccinated and boosted when possible. Everyone is fatigued as hell (or heck if you prefer) with all things COVID and I don’t feel like it’s going away anytime soon. I’m not an expert, and I’m basing my opinion on what’s happening in the world, and really hope I’m wrong. My office was in the process of implementing a return to the office plan when Omicron came knocking at Oregon’s door. Now those plans are being pushed back. 

Though frustrating, this is a time for being adaptive and flexible; two of my personal aspirations for the new year. No matter what happens now and in the future, we have to find ways to move forward. 

#sciencesaveslives #covidsucks #thankyoumedicalpracticioners

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