Blogging through the COVID19-crisis: Week 100

photo credit: Sincerely Media via Unsplash

We’re rapidly approaching the two-year mark of the start of the pandemic (I measure it by the day we went into lockdown mode in California on March, 17) and it feels strange to think about it. Has it really been TWO YEARS since normalcy went out the window? 

It’s been 100 weeks to be exact. What we thought was maybe going to last a few weeks, has turned into triple weekly digits. No, it’s not something I had remotely anticipated. 

The latest omicron wave that has kept the world on its toes is slowly subsiding here in California. Case rates are falling and last week, the mask mandate was lifted. I am not quite sure how I feel about it. Overall, I feel that our governor has always listened to the science and made decisions based on the best available information. However, there’s been some back and forth between restrictions being lifted, only to be reinstated a short time later.

Forgive me, if I am not completely trusting of whatever is decided on a political level. There hasn’t been enough concerted effort nationally, IMHO, instead states have been given too much free reign to do what they deem right  (in Germany, we have a nice expression for a situation like this. We call this, “everybody’s cooking up their own pot of soup”). And don’t think for a second that this is only an American thing – this has been happening in Germany, too, where every federate state has implemented its own rules and restrictions. 

I don’t know, it just feels like playing a game of whack-a-mole that is never going to end.

But, there seems to be a global push to “go back to normal”, despite the fact that a large chunk of the population (and a lot of children!) remain unvaccinated. And don’t get me wrong, I desperately want to “do things” again; go out to dinner, see a concert, travel! But I can’t help but still feel wary, despite the fact that Jon and I are not in high-risk groups, have been able to stay healthy (or maybe just unsymptomatic? Who knows!) throughout the pandemic so far, and will remain vigilant and careful going forward.

I’ve heard quite a few people express recently that they’re at a point where they think we are all going to catch it, sooner or later, and that they just want to “get it over with” and return to some sense of normalcy. While I can understand the notion, something inside of me is still very much opposed to exposing myself “on purpose”. And with “on purpose”, I mean dropping all precautions and taking more risks on a daily basis and to shrug and go “whatever”. That is not me. However, I might be ready to maybe extend my radius of movement a little bit.

What is the situation where you are? Are cases dropping? Are restrictions being lifted?

Whatever the situation, continue to stay safe, friends.

  1. Cases are dropping here, thank goodness. There are rumblings — though nothing definite yet — that my daughter’s school might drop its masking policy, which I will HATE. (And I don’t know that I can trust/force my eight-year-old to continue wearing a mask if she is among the minority. Sigh.)

    My husband and I have plans to go to a restaurant for the first time this weekend, so we’ll see how that goes. And my family is planning to travel for spring break, so we’ll see how THAT goes. (I just heard that airlines may be dropping THEIR masking policies, which I wish they would keep forever and ever, so that is not my favorite piece of news.)

    I agree both that it seems inevitable that everyone will get it… and that there are still people who are highly vulnerable who still need protection. I am not seeking it out (I know some people who are talking about doing the Covid parties again, which… I understand the impulse, but do not agree with it.) but I am less urgently/stringently avoiding it, if that makes sense?

  2. I am NOT seeking it out; I’ve heard of too many people with long-haul COVID. But it does feel inevitable. Yet no one in my family has gotten COVID, even though so many people around us have…so maybe we’ll really manage to miss the Omicron wave.

    Things are easing slightly, but everything is still in place with distancing and masking. Where I live in Canada vaccine rates have been high and as I’ve mentioned before, I could literally count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen people without masks inside a store/public space. Everyone just seems resigned and law-abiding with it.

    I am hoping the kids get to ease some of the mask requirements in their schools. I think they can take them off for gym now, but for a while they had to have them on for gym AND outside recess and it broke my heart. They don’t know any better at this point and don’t really complain, but every once in a while Levi will say something about how it gets hot, or it’s hard to breathe when he’s running and it makes me SO, SO sad. This is literally all he has known in school.

    Cases are pretty low again, after a HUGE spike around Christmas. I’ve not been monitoring it very closely. In general, we stay home most of the time, but when we’re out I feel safe. But I think living in a small town with a lot of space helps tremendously!

  3. So, on Feb 14 the government dropped the mask mandate for under-18s, including in schools. What. Only two weeks prior to that, the kids were given medical masks at schools and were told they had to wear filters with their cloth masks, and they were all given test kits and were supposed to test themselves twice a week. Two weeks later, it’s a free-for-all.
    My kids are old enough to decide for themselves, and they have chosen to continue to wear masks. I asked them what it was like at the school and ALL OF THE KIDS STILL WEAR MASKS. Why are kids so much smarter than our governing bodies? I don’t know.
    Anyway, I guess cases are going down here. I don’t THINK I have had Covid. I haven’t been sick with anything at all since prior to 2019. But my husband had a terrible cough that lasted eight weeks, back in March-April 2020, so possibly he had it then, but who would know. My younger son had a terrible cold back in November, and I think now it might have been Omicron before Omicron was a big thing, but there’s no way to tell. He wasn’t eligible for testing back in Nov. Now, he would be, but too late.

  4. Cases are dropping here, but the mask mandate has been gone for so long that it’s crazy for me to think there are places out there where the majority of folks are still wearing masks. I’m still wearing one wherever I go, though. I honestly just want to visit my mom in another state and I’m hoping I feel safe enough to do that SOON.

  5. I would never purposely try to get covid. I am shocked we haven’t gotten it yet with our kids being in daycare. But it really does not seem to spread widely at daycare, even with the kids not wearing masks. There have been a handful of cases in each boys’ classroom but it doesn’t seem like other kids are getting it. Which I am very happy about! I was dreading a quarantine, especially if Will had to quarantine because I do not know how I would get much work done with him at home!

    Minnesota hasn’t had a mask mandate in quite some time but Minneapolis still has one. I think it makes sense to have those decisions be more local, especially in a state like Minnesota. The mark mandates were dropped during times when our case rates are down and then came back when Omicron cases spiked. I think they will probably end the mandate soon but I think I’ll still wear a mask until case rates really decline.

    I have been trying to shift my thinking about covid and to compare it to risks I took in pre-covid times. Like right now, my risk of getting sick is similar to the risk of me getting the flu in 2019. So I am going to start going to restaurants again, especially since our case numbers are declining and I had my 4th dose of the vaccine in Jan so am very well-protected. It’s hard to go from ‘nothing is safe’ to shifting your risk assessment. But I know I can’t live like this forever. I look forward to my kids being eligible for the vaccine but that doesn’t seem likely until Apr-June time frame? It was good to see that Paul did well with wearing a mask on the plane. That makes me more comfortable trying to bring him places where I’d need him to wear a mask, like the local children’s book store I’ve been wanting to take him to!

  6. Many of your thoughts mirror my own. The lack of an early cohesive response has made me realize that the only way forward is going to be managing this as an endemic. Though I had hopes for a coordinated US response after the election, allowing everyone to cook their own soup (or, in some cases, chicken instead of soup) has made this completely uncontrollable. I’m watching midterm elections continually call for the end of all these things that somehow because political instead of public safety measures. Our county has been in the red for a very long time. I see people without masks everywhere I go. I feel like I’m in the minority for continuing to wear a mask – even though there are mask mandate signs on every door. For these reasons, I feel safer when I travel – when I’m in places that have required vaccines, tests, and other measures to try and keep people safe.

    I feel a great deal of – what’s the word – resignation (maybe?) – about the entire thing. From August 2020 and on, I was required to go into schools without a vaccine, when students couldn’t get vaccinated. I wore masks, I double-masked, and I got my vaccine and booster as quickly as I could. I argued for my staff to be remote and in some cases, I was successful… and by allowing them to be remote, I found myself as the one who had to show up to work in person every day, regardless of my feelings about how things were going in relation to the pandemic. My professional goals and responsibilities were not reduced, and in many cases, they have only been increased and double-downed on this year. In many ways, all of this probably colors how I feel about all of the conversations around this. So many conversations around the “return to regular life” have been steeped in luxury not afforded to everyone for a very long time. I have grown weary of some of the conversations because 1) it is clear that there will not be a vaccination mandate, 2) it is clear that we are not going to shout down the opposing side or coerce them to do what is good for humans, 3) I am waiting for an honest conversation about what the expectation and pathway forward should look like – and as you said, I don’t fully trust people making those decisions because much of it feels politically motivated, rather than following evidence-based decision making.

    I don’t know if this all makes sense – I find it hard to articulate and say these things because I don’t want people to feel like I’m minimizing what has happened over the last two years… I’m not. I’m emotional and furious about it. I’m exhausted from it. I’m angry at all the arm-chair experts that have emerged while I was just trying to survive and do my job for the last two years. Every day there’s a new report coming out that suggests that I didn’t do enough and/or I didn’t do it well and/or that I should be doing better. I don’t even feel like I have a safe space to articulate how demoralizing the last 2 years have been on me professionally.

    At the same time, I had to learn to live with all of this long before many other people I know.

  7. I’m one of those people who feels like it’s inevitable that I will get Covid, but I’m certainly not seeking it out. That’s crazy! Even if it’s a mild case, we don’t know the long-term effects of Covid and I don’t want to worry about that! Most everyone I know has had it, except nobody in my immediate family has gotten it, which is just CRAZY to me. How have we been so lucky? I don’t really know. Even my unvaccinated stepdad has stayed healthy.

    I can’t believe we’re crossing the 2-year mark of this thing. But I really do feel like we are inching closer and closer to the endemic phase – at least, we’re much closer now than we were even 6 months ago.

  8. I have to admit I am loosing sight of the pandemic thing. I have so much going on here that I don’t keep track of the numbers. I am only working from home. We order a lot of food and grocery deliveries mainly because we are both so busy. I wish I was outside more. I don’t mind going shopping.
    And with Ukraine now going on the pandemic seems like it is such a secondary issue. Its all just too much

  9. Here in Florida you still see people in masks but they’re in the minority. Masks are now optional where I work and I’m not wearing one. With every client who comes in, i offer to wear a mask during their massage and not one person has wanted me to- everyone so far has opted to go mask-less. I’m much, much happier without the mask, but I realize my situation is different from some people’s. I’ve been vaccinated AND I had Covid a couple months ago, so if I’m exposed again I have confidence in my immune system to fight it off.
    Covid has been so weird because it seems to affect everyone differently, so it’s impossible to come to any consensus. I do think we’re nearing the end of the pandemic- from now on Covid will be around, like regular colds or the flu. But we won’t stay home or wear masks to avoid it. At least that’s what I think… but I know I could be wrong!

  10. Oh, San. I feel you on this one. I am still masking in stores, and on the bus (as required). I don’t have to mask after spring break next week when I am teaching. I’ve waffled on it, but… our students (because of their major) have a 99% vaccination rate, and a 95% booster rate. Same for faculty and staff. So, I will probably not mask in my classrooms, given the low likelihood that I (also vaccinated + boosted) will get sick from one of my similarly vaccinated students. But I won’t deny that I’m anxious about it. I do not want to get COVID, and I particularly do not want long COVID. Who does?

    Otherwise I am not back to “normal”. I haven’t done anything for myself – even getting takeout – in nearly 6 months. I was doing “better” in terms of normal at this time last year. I need to just get over myself and get out there.

    I hope you realize there are many of us who still feel the same as you… and who are out here masking in solidarity. Still.

    I also hope against hope that that flight to Germany becomes a reality but with all that is going on in the world, I don’t know what you are thinking about that… Take care of yourself, please. <3

Comments are closed.