Whatever Passes for “Normal” Amid COVID Is About to Take Yet Another Hard Turn

Last Saturday’s line of cars behind the hospital was as straight and straight as a rank Marine Corps Cadets. After a while, the line became a little foursquare tent city populated with masked nurses carrying potent needles. This was huge stuff. I was there to get my Pfizer booster. But, what was more important was the 8-year old girl who was bouncing in the passenger seat next to me.

My daughter was there to receive her first COVID vaccine. Her excitement was only tempered by her terror at the sight of needles in white lab coats. After that, I kept telling my daughter that she would be able to face the monster on an equal basis after the second and third ones. Nearly two years of fear, mine and hers, was about to be overthrown by active resistance. This involved more than just staying away from people and wearing masks.

She watched as I took my shot — it really is a nothing needle, especially compared to the annual flu shot, which felt this year like they administered it with a hollowed-out aluminum baseball bat — and then she got hers with barely a wince, and in a back room of my mind I heard old Levon Helm singing Dylan at the top of his nicotine lungs: “Yes, it sure has been a long, hard climb…”

“It’s not over,” I told her, after we had a little celebratory dance party during the obligatory 15-minute wait before departing. COVID won’t end, not after Trump and his friends ruined it all so badly.), so we still have to be careful… but these shots we’re getting are a really big deal, and they will absolutely help us all keep safe. As she listened, a dark light that had been shining in her eyes since her sixth birthday slipped out. She smiled at her new Band-Aid and the moment was for me joy.

There are miles to go before we fall asleep, making this yet another dangerous winter crossing. It seems like too many people have had enough of all this COVID crap. I’m not talking about the Trump followers who refuse to take the shot because they absurdly believe that Bill Gates put tentacled microchips into the serum so Satan could track their glow. These people are on their own boat ride over the falls and there seems to be no one who can help them but to wave.

I am referring to those who have spent the past two years wrapped in vigilance and put their trust in science, only for it to fail as the Delta variant emerged, and as case rates rose among the dead-enders who can see tyranny in every swatch of fabric. A recent survey found that 74 percent of Americans believe their lives have returned to “normal.” Of those surveyed, only 15 percent said their lives had “never stopped being normal,” so that 74 percent includes a great many people who should probably know better, but are just exhausted.

Whatever is passing for “normal” these days is about to take yet another hard turn as the cold descends, if history and current infection rates are any indication. The. daily numberNew infections are just below 95,000 cases, an increase of 25 percent in the past 14 days. The daily hospitalization rate has risen to a high of 50,000 cases, an increase of 9 percent. There are still more COVID deaths every day.

“The latest U.S. Covid-19 wave is taking its toll on some states’ intensive-care units,” reports Bloomberg, “with several parts of the country seeing outbreaks that are as bad as ever. According to data from the Department of Health and Human Services, 15 states have seen an increase in patients with confirmed or suspected Covid taking up ICU beds than they did a year ago. Colorado, Minnesota and Michigan have 41 percent, 37 percent and 34 percent of ICU beds occupied by Covid-19 patients, respectively, the data show.”

COVID has been showing ominous signs in New England, a region where the winter cold has a head start. The seven-day averageThe number of Connecticut cases is up a staggering 117 per cent, while it is up 83 per cent in Massachusetts. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed an emergency declarationThis week, some hospitals were ordered to delay non-essential procedures due to staff shortages resulting from the latest COVID surge.

Yet, only 59 percent of the country is vaccinated. All available data shows how effective vaccines are in protecting people against the worst elements COVID.

“In Minnesota, which publishes detailed COVID data, the death rate for fully vaccinated people under 50 during the Delta surge this year was 0.0 per 100,000 — meaning, so few people died that the rate rounds to zero,” reports The New York Times. “Washington State is another place that publishes statistics by age and vaccination status. Washington’s most recent report did not include a death rate among fully vaccinated residents below 65. It was too low to be meaningful.”

President Biden’s poll numbers have been taking a slow but steady beating ever since he declared COVID all but over this past summer, only to have the Delta variant run up his suit leg and take a dump on his tie. His administration is working hard to get COVID enacted. strict workplace mandatesFor vaccinations more than 90 percentFederal workers and military personnel have all received at least one dose. purchased 10 million pills of Paxlovid, Pfizer’s potentially game-changing new anti-COVID medication, with more surely to come if the meds work as advertised. Administration experts continue their work. bang the drumMass vaccinations and booster shots are available.

All this and more Biden’s approval rate still suffersThis is partly because he promised to end this plague when he took office. There are many factors that have prevented this from happening and another long winter lies ahead. “Joe Biden has now been president for around half of the duration of the pandemic,” writesJanan Ganesh The Financial Times. “He was elected in large part to contain it. His failure to do so is the central fact of his presidency.”

A Lizzo song came on the radio as my daughter and I pulled out of the hospital parking lot in search of some food, and changes were made to the lyrics on the fly: “We don’t want you anymore,” my daughter sang, “so march that COVID out the door!” For a moment, her laughter in the Saturday morning sunlight blew all of it — Trump, Biden, COVID, anti-vaxxers, the living and the dead, the whole stinking mess and every second of time lost to it — far out to sea. It returned as soon as I saw the crowd at the breakfast joint, so we decided to eat at our home.

Stout hearts. Still not done.