About the only thing I feel like I can predict with this pandemic is the prediction that things change.
When I decreed in a mid-November COVID update blog post that I will be doing update posts at a rate of about once a month, it was before the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus. Since then, of course, the Omicron variant has become the dominant one, even over Delta.
And this variant is different from others in that it seems more contagious than other variants of COVID. In fact, this is the first variant where a lot of my friends are catching it. A relative of mine himself came into close contact with multiple people who tested positive for COVID, but his tests (thankfully) came back negative. Ditto with my mom’s parents, who are in their 90s and came into contact with someone who tested positive.
However, there are promising indicators in terms of the severity of the variant. I’ve been hearing reports that, as a whole, people are less likely to land in the hospital with this variant than with other variants, and that people who end up in the hospital with Omicron are likely to have shorter hospital stays than they would with other variants. Still, with the extreme numbers of people getting this variant, I remain concerned that this could spread so rapidly that strained hospitals could yet get overwhelmed.
Even if strained hospitals don’t get overwhelmed, there’s the concern about the fact that so many people are testing positive that it grinds important aspects of life to a crawl. So much of what I’m seeing locally in New York City and nationally in the United States are symptoms of that, ranging from entire subway lines getting suspended in New York due to subway crew shortages to airlines having to cancel flights due to crews testing positive for the virus.
Because so much is being slowed to a crawl, I’m of the mind that people and governments should be doing all that they can to slow the spread of this virus, including masking, social distancing (when possible), going back to remote work for the time being (once again, when possible), and really minimizing larger gatherings (as much as I hate to say this as I was just starting to connect with more people in person). It’s tough, and not what we want or desire, but something that I think needs to be done in order to allow vital elements of or society semi-functional.
So, that is pretty much it from where I am. I hope others are healthy.