back to normal
After more than a year, I received a COVID vaccine (J&J), which meant both a degree of safety, and signaled a potential end to the pandemic locally.
I’m not sure what to think. A few friends were vaccinated before me, and at this point most of my pals have had at least one dose. Even those I know who were vaccinated earlier haven’t quite come to terms with their new situation, and it was only today the CDC removed the requirement to mask outside at all times.
Meanwhile, in India and in other countries, the pandemic rages on with mutations and positive rates above 30%. It’s hard to celebrate or even think about this ending until more places have the access to vaccines we have. Disturbingly, many Americans aren’t even seeking a vaccine!
As I write this, the CDC suggests vaccinated folks can share indoor space and breath the same air without a mask, and even spend time with a single non-vaccinated person as they’re both less likely to get sick, and unlikely to spread COVID. Sadly, this same CDC cautioned against using masks at the beginning of the pandemic, which makes me worried they might not be cautious enough or focused on disease mitigation. Based on what we know now, the likelihood of indoor transmission is significant, while outdoor transmission is rare.
I’m hopeful we know more about the longer-term efficacy of the vaccine by the summer, so that I’m able to move forward with my life. My current plan is to be less afraid to eat or drink a beer outdoors, or go on a bike ride. I’ve had two indoor hangouts with friends who’ve had a second dose, and while it was fun, it was still a little surreal.
I think will be hard to adapt back to a world where we can gather with a group, go to a concert, or fly to Japan. I hope it gets easier with practice. I started small by going to the grocery store twice this month, and both times it was somewhat overwhelming. Even small things like trying to respond to a cashier or someone taking my order at a restaurant makes me a feel a little feral.
While we’ve had a number of surges and “waves” of Covid in the US, I’m hoping we get to enjoy at least a few months of relative safety before boosters are needed for us in California. I don’t know when we’ll be able to return to offices, or travel as a hobby again, but even just being able to have regular dinner parties seems like a success.
What I’ll bring with me after this is a renewed sense of joy in being alone, and a recognition of how much my cat means to me. I’ve cooked so many meals and ridden almost 100 hours since January on my indoor bike, and fortunately, I can keep doing those things indefinitely.
As a I shared with my book club today: I was in book clubs before the pandemic, and I’ll be in them long after this pandemic is over. Books, cats, and the comfort of my house are dependable and delightful despite over a year of leaning hard on them.
For now I don’t think I’ll need to practice saying “no” to social events quite yet, but hopefully we’ll be there soon.