THE PANDEMIC IS NOT OVER
By Richard Davis
The pandemic is not over. Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you think that COVID is not still in the air and infecting and killing people you are not accepting reality. According to the CDC there 49,808 new cases a day, 353 deaths every day and 3737 hospitalizations every day.
Nearly 96 million Americans (an underestimate) have been infected with COVID, 1,051,389 Americans have died and there are currently 20,033 people now being treated in U.S. hospitals for severe cases of COVID. Those numbers have slowed over recent months but the disease is still very much with us and will most likely become something we have to deal with for a long time.
My wife and I have been extremely careful about respecting the power of COVID and up until two weeks ago we thought we would be able to avoid becoming infected. We have had two boosters and also the Omicron protective (third) booster. We wear masks in all indoor public places and try to avoid crowds.
About an hour after we got our last booster we met a friend unexpectedly at an outdoor location and my wife hugged her very briefly. Nobody was masked. We spent about two minutes talking and then we went on our way.
The next day we got an e-mail telling us everyone in her family was sick and they all tested positive for COVID. We hoped to dodge a bullet. The contact was brief but close. Maybe all those boosters would protect us. We hadn’t been near her for very long. After a couple of days my wife developed a sore throat, cough and serious fatigue. She tested positive but I was still negative. I was hoping for the best, but two days later I came down with the same symptoms and tested positive.
These past two weeks have been a struggle. We do feel lucky. We have a comfortable place to hang out and we are both retired so there is no pressure to actually do anything important. My wife does a lot of local volunteering so the organizations that have relied on her will have a gap in their workforce for a while.
We have learned that while COVID may have many symptoms similar to the seasonal flu, it is a disease that differs from the flu in many ways. The type of fatigue that COVID causes is like nothing I have ever experienced. We stay awake for an hour and then are so used up we have to take a two or three hour nap. This routine has gone one for almost two weeks.
Both of us have taken Paxlovid. It seems to have decreased the severity of symptoms. My wife has been sicker than I and it is starting to look like some of her more troubling symptoms are returning since she has finished Paxlovid.
The one good sign is that we both have been fever free for a few days and hope to be able to follow CDC guidance and go out in public with a mask after five days in quarantine. We will test ourselves again. It will be good to start to rejoin the world again but we want to be careful and we don’t want to infect anyone.
I suspect that without the boosters and the care we have taken so far that our cases of COVID would have been a lot worse. We will continue to protect ourselves and others for the foreseeable future and that is the best we can all do right now.