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Virus Without Borders: Chapter 97

Time Can Be Wiser Than Our Own Intentions


He wasn't sure what to do. If he left the rock, it would only take a few minutes of desert air to dry his pool, and then all that would remain of him would be a small crucible of brown powder, a powder the wind would find and scatter.


-Scott Anderson, "Triage"



Ten days and my husband is out of isolation, testing negative, and I am out of quarantine, still testing negative. Three friends in my hood have been sick, and are better. Forget contact tracing, no point. And though the news about the boosters is not good, it is not bad either: I escaped this round entirely—having had Covid last January—and we are not in the hospital, and we are not dead, and neither are most of my family or friends. Yet, lest I forget, the partner of a friend died. A dear friend of my daughter and son-in-law died. Is that a good score?  Are we keeping score to make ourselves feel better as we crawl out of our foxholes?  Are we afflicted with foxhole syndrome: the guy in the foxhole is dead, shot through the head, but I'm okay, I'm alive.


Plus, let's be thankful for Paxlovid. My husband thanks you, certainly. And though the vaccines and boosters we have so far are working well enough, let us hope that the new Congress will not be so hopelessly gridlocked that they refuse to release money to develop a different preventive vaccine and/or nasal sprays. Note: Biden's visit to China. Make a list of what you imagine they talked about other than Taiwan and Ukraine. On the top of mine would be: continuing economic cooperation.


But what I want to return to today visa vie this Virus Without Borders document is not the US v. China; it's triage. Triage is a wall I hit every time I talk to someone about Covid protocols before a social interaction. So, what are your Covid protocols? I ask before such an interaction. The answers are varied: There are those who clearly state their intention of extra care and testing before Turkey Day, for example, and others who state categorically that they are moving around unmasked  and if they get Covid, it will surely be mild, more like a cold, therefore no protocols.


Answers have become predictable: they divide demographically. The vulnerable elders in the population are cautious, the youngsters, not just casual, but fatalistic without much concern for exposing those who are more vulnerable. This has been true for a while, I know, and I'm not sure what it ultimately signifies or portends. All I am sure of is that it seems an apt metaphor for America's entitled disregard of its aging and vulnerable populations.


I have no solution and I have no words of Thanksgiving, either, other than I hope yours is a healthy and joyous one, free of Covid. I'll sing Hallelujah when I can take down the His and Hers mask hooks by the door, and when a new vaccine is developed.

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