Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Here’s Johnny

The COVID Beast is Back

I have a sickening feeling that we are about to reenter the closed, dark, dank world of COVID-19, if we haven’t reentered it already and I am trying very hard to be optimistic and I am not getting very far. I have gotten two vaccinations and a booster and thought I was out of the danger zone. But I have been reading everything I can about the latest variant dangers around the corner and getting more confused about so many issues, like whether two Pfizer vaccines are effective even with a booster, like what are the likely effects of the newly detected omicron variant, like how badly can someone be effected by omicron if they have been fully vaccinated or not, like when we can get back to a semblance of normalcy without having a daily, existential fear hanging over our heads. Or whether we can ever return to those more innocent times and just breathe.
I don’t want to return to the days of closed schools and I would be very happy to never again hear the word Zoom. I want to hear nothing about COVID-19 tests, whether they are rapid response, moderate response, slow response, excruciatingly slow response or any other pace of response. I want you to keep the Qtips out of my nose.
I want no longer to be told to wear N95 masks or else, or use disposable masks or keep safe distances and those annoying footprints painted on the floor at Bottle King and Walgreen’s have to go. And I don’t want to be constantly and incessantly reminded by those vexating signs reminding me to please not to enter the store without a face mask. I want to go to crowded bars, crowded holiday parties, crowded malls and not feel I am taking my life in my hands.
I do not want to return to the days of cancelled baseball seasons and delayed football games and stadiums with no fans and only those absurd, cardboard cutouts of fans in the stands while cheering is piped over the sound systems. But far and away, I do not want to hear about another single person who has been sickened or died after getting the virus, whether I know them or not.
I am so sick of the horrible right wing, Republican politicians who lie about the pandemic, its causes and treatments, all to score political points and dam the consequences. I am so exhausted from having to walk on egg shells not to discuss the pandemic with people who are convinced that it is all a scam and nothing to worry about. And how can those so-called religious leaders sleep at night, those who still keep quiet or worse about the pandemic?
I feel like closing my eyes for two weeks and hoping the scientific dust settles so that I can understand some definitive reasons, whether to continue to panic or to breathe easier. I would even stoop to prayer if I thought it might work. Waiting for the next scientific shoe to fall is sheer torture and I fully understand people who say they are done with this all and that they plan to resume their pre-pandemic lifestyle and hope for the best. I can see why people are desperate for answers and may reach out in the darkness to latch on to something, anything, to explain away the crisis and make the nightmare go away. It’s happening already. Just look at the number of people wearing masks while shopping, you can count them on one hand. And it is so tiresome trying to convince all of these people to put the masks back on when they have totally had it with the pandemic.
But I won’t take that route because it is obvious that magical thinking will do no good other than lead me to even greater disappointments or worse.
I am committed to hanging in there, keeping as up to date on the news as possible, coming to logical conclusions and maintaining my belief that we will find a way out of this messy situation and that sooner or later, most of us will modify our lives to the reality which may seem grimmer every moment. There really is no choice because surrender is no option especially when I look in the eyes of my children or the other people for whom I care deeply. Or for that matter, when I look in the mirror and know that I can’t and won’t let myself give up because there will be a resolution, whether it comes next week, next month or next year and we will carry on.
So all I can do is try to keep the latest disturbing findings in perspective and not to let them control my life or the lives of those close to me. And to hope this week’s Giants game is not cancelled and that they win, although that would be truly magical thinking. And to vent every now and then like this.

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Journalist for 40 years and now a creative writer

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Phil Garber

Phil Garber

Journalist for 40 years and now a creative writer

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