I write three columns a week. One is free to all. This is that one for this week. I’d really love if you became a subscriber so you can read ‘em all…
This is the portion of the pandemic when everybody sorta stands around staring at each other saying "what the actual fuck?"
We're vaccinated. And boosted. And grateful. Believe me. We're as protected as we can be. And doing all we can to protect others.
But we're still scared. We're still getting the virus. And we can still spread it to others. We're wearing the wrong masks, for starters. We can't find at-home tests anywhere, but are told they are more prone to false-negatives anyway, which is a warm and fuzzy. The wait to get a test at a pharmacy can be weeks…and then days more to get the result. We're warned that ICUs are filled up, yet told to get back to work. Millions of children are still not eligible for a vaccine, yet are shoved back into crowded classrooms anyway. When kids get sick parents have to stay home to take care of them, and most likely they'll get sick as well. Even CDC employees can't keep track of the quarantine rules anymore. If I feel sick I'm told to isolate, but also told to get tested, which is hard to do if I'm in isolation. If I come into contact with a positive case I'm told to isolate, and get tested, unless I don't have any symptoms, in which case I don't have to isolate or get tested and can go back to work. As long as I wear an N95 mask (which I can't find) and socially distance, which is impossible and always has been. For 5 days. Or 10. I'm not sure anymore. Oh, and it might just be the flu. Or the common cold. Or rampant paranoia.
You can catch this Omicron variant through the mail slot in your house, but are safe in NFL stadiums filled with 50,000 unmasked guys sloshed on parking-lot cans of Miller Lite? Peculiar thing, this Covid.
Meanwhile, on the dark side….
This week Robert Kennedy’s Harvard educated and defiantly un-vaxxed son stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and said that Anne Frank had more freedoms than men like he and Aaron Rodgers.....so it's not like reason is about to take over anytime soon. Even Kennedy’s wife took to Twitter to call him trash, which should make for an interesting dinner table dynamic…although a couple having a fundamental disagreement on the meaning of the holocaust probably should have addressed this chasm before exchanging the I-Dos.
Anyway….that’s just your daily anecdote to remind you that those who aren't vaccinated by now are likely to stay that way. They have a history of changing their minds only when the intubation tube is being snaked in.
The world can be a cruel place. Science can be savage.
But back to the matter at hand.
If you feel sick and tell work, they'll ask for a positive Covid test. If you don't have one they'll tell you to come in anyway, but to wear a mask. If you do have a positive test, they'll ask if you have any symptoms. If you don't, they'll tell you to come in anyway. Just wear a mask. Does it need to be a N95 mask? Well...no. Which I guess is good since you can't find those. (My daughter recently got a shipment of them. From China, which is ironic because....well...you know. Anyway, she placed the order before Thanksgiving, so don't get excited) We're supposed to get free masks from the government. And free tests too. The government is great at logistics. I'm sure the already overtaxed USPS are thrilled about this. How many? I think 4 per household. I can wear the mask for a day. Today is Tuesday. Other than steal the one meant for my child, what do I do come Wednesday? Right under the taped-up sign on the door of my local Rite-Aid that says "we have no at home Covid tests available" it says "we have no N95 masks either". But at least they are "sorry for the inconvenience." In lieu of the missing N95s, I was told to "double mask". And I do.
Any pandemic on its third shot, and its second mask….is not waning.
Daycare of little children is nearly impossible to find. I know someone who works 12 hours shifts watching children, often all alone. She can't go home until all the children are picked up, and has to be there as they arrive. She makes $9 an hour, and has to keep returning into the jaws of a pandemic that doesn't feel pity. Kids are exposed to positive cases constantly, and thus are told to quarantine. This means parents have to miss work, often using up all their sick and vacation time in the process. That is if they are lucky enough to have a job that offers those things. As a result, every day kids are dropped off with coughs, leaking noses, low-grade fevers....by desperate, often single Mothers who go to work or don’t get paid. Since January of 2020 over 100,000 fewer Americans are working in child-care jobs. Expect that number to increase substantially.
It is a crisis….and it’s not going to get any better. The so-called “mass resignation” is being driven by a certain fatalism. If not now, when? By the spring 1,000,000 Americans who should be alive will be dead.
This thing has turned parents into self-medicating, sleepless wrecks….forced to make a choice between crazy and maybe-just-a-little-bit-more crazy. Outcomes are no longer “good”, they are simply less bad.
We’re like dogs being told to “come….stay…..come….stay” over and over again.
And on and on it goes. Don’t let go yet. Ride ain’t over.
In a bit..