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Facing another year of COVID-19

Peter Goodman

Commentary: An email this morning says Judge Arrieta has closed the courts to in-person contacts with defendants and others for the next two weeks due to omicron-spiked coronavirus cases. My phone just buzzed to tell me one friend’s email about weekly coffee [outdoors] elicited from another friend: “Sorry guys. In retreat until the virus peaks.”

This week I started wearing my colorful cloth mask over a white KN95, as the CDC will probably recommend soon.

The omicron variant may be peaking elsewhere, but our state is experiencing its surge in cases right now. New Mexico’s Health Department reported 5,547 new cases Thursday.

Omicron is very infectious, but a mild illness, usually. Widespread vaccination has further decreased deaths. We’re seeing relatively fewer hospitalizations and deaths among vaccinated folks; but some vaccinated friends are certainly not enjoying their illnesses.

It’s harder and harder to get and maintain a clear perspective on anything. We in the U.S. aren’t noted for our patience or long attention spans. We’re frustrated, tired, and/or scared. To varying degrees, we’ve been good for months, now years – what feels like a decade. Shouldn’t this be over by now? (“Are we there yet, Daddy?”) Some experts think “the end” is in sight. Others say it’s “unlikely but plausible” that yet another variant in the spring will be both more contagious and deadlier. I haven’t figured out whether “unlikely but plausible” translates to the less than one half of one per cent chance the San Francisco 49ers had last Sunday to beat the Rams with two minutes to go, or their odds on beating Dallas this Sunday, in Dallas, with the Cowboys favored by 3.5 points. Probably closer to the former, but the ‘Niners made the playoffs. None of us will be rooting for COVID. (The Earth should root for COVID, as should the many species whom we’re extinctifying with our greed and carelessness. But that’s another column.)

It’s comforting to know that while the coronavirus has every incentive to morph into a more contagious form, it has reason NOT to be deadlier, or, at least, not to kill off its hosts before we can infect as many of our friends and acquaintances as possible. But that hasn’t kept COVID-19 from killing 5 ½ million people so far.

I can’t agree with tennis star Novak Djokovic’s mother that he’s an international hero for lying on his Australian visa application and spouting medical nonsense. I enjoyed Anthony Fauci getting caught by a hot mike muttering in shock, “What a moron! Christ,” after Sen. Roger Marshall kept asking him over and over how to obtain Fauci’s financial investment disclosures, which have been public information for years, and implying Fauci is on the take.

Lots of folks have different ideas about dealing with COVID, based on our different fears and life styles. That’s understandable. A senator (and doctor!) implying false information and asking questions he knows are stupid deserves worse than Fauci could give him.

Let’s keep our heads up, live what we can of life, and help protect our community while acknowledging contrary views on how.