One year ago today I wrote my first blog post about COVID. Two days later we went into full lockdown mode. So what did I have right and wrong 365 days ago?
- In that post I took people for task to not worrying abut the virus because it “probably wouldn’t affect them seriously.” One year later we are still dealing with those same assholes.
- I also worried about the death rate being 1%, which thankfully was off by an order of magnitude. Approximately 86 million people have been infected in the US to date. Imagine if the death toll was 8.6 million instead of 500,000.
- In March 2020 we thought the virus spread via physical contact, so we all started sanitizing our groceries before we brought them into the house. I suspect we could have managed things much better if that was the way the virus spread.
- I was also worried about the impact on people on the margins who would be losing their jobs as the economy shut down.
So here we are a year later. 7% of the US has been vaccinated and about 36% have immunity from the virus via vaccination, infection, or both. Yesterday was the first hint of Spring weather we’ve had in Virginia this year. I took advantage by going hiking and then enjoying a couple of post hike beers at a nearby brewpub - sitting safely outdoors in the sun of course! My wife has both of her shots, and I’m anxiously awaiting my shot, pun totally intended. There is a renewed sense of optimism in the US, probably a combination of the return of something resembling normal life being in sight, and having a functioning Federal government again doesn’t hurt either.
So where does that leave us?
The US may never get to herd immunity. The projections I’m following have us leveling off at about 63% general immunity this summer. What does that mean? I don’t think anybody really knows. I suspect outdoor life will return to normal this summer, and assuming the most vulnerable populations have better vaccination rates hopefully the inevitable fall/winter spike will kind of resemble the annual flu season. We as a society will just accept thousands, maybe tens of thousands of people dying every year from COVID because to do otherwise would be bad for capitalism.
I do have hope for some positive changes.
- Many more people working from home full time and even more with a hybrid situation where they WFH regularly. Imagine the impact of flu season (and maybe COVID season) if we can avoid congregating in offices in the winter.
- Coming into work sick, where work is an office or store full of other people, will be less tolerated. In a perfect world it would be a fireable offense, but capitalism…
- All the rich white people that bought $40,000 campers last year after never having camped in their lives will sell their campers and go back to beachfront condos. Please, please let this one be true.
So my wife has officially survived the pandemic. I’m continuing to be careful because I don’t want to be that guy that gets shot 15 minutes before the armistice goes into effect. We are looking forward to baseball games and soccer matches this summer, beach trips, camping, and hopefully our 3rd trip to Puerto Rico in December. I don’t think it will be a normal summer, but normal-ish will be a welcome improvement for sure.