Thursday, August 12, 2021

Pandemic update from our neck of the woods

The other day, I drove to a paint store to check out colors for our bathroom, which is sorely in need of a redo (and I am sorely in need of a Delta variant distraction). Two customers in the paint store had masks on; the staffer they were speaking with didn't. After I raided the paint samples and left, I started keeping tabs on the masked and unmasked. People who worked in the sandwich store: not wearing masks; the three other customers who were there with me, masked. Over at Target, practically everyone was masked, employees and customers alike. Home Depot: employees, masked; customers, mixed bag. As usual, everywhere I went there were people were wearing theirs below their nose. 

Max was eligible for his vaccine early on, so at this point he is nearing the six-month mark. I have been wondering about whether his protection is going to peter out, because his cerebral palsy puts him at higher risk for complications. (Research has found that pre-existing challenges with breathing in children with CP increase the risk factor for respiratory issues from Covid.)

Cases in our state are four times as high as they were a month ago. In our town, the stats have been rising, too. Of the documented cases last month, about 27 percent were breakthrough cases and 28 percent involved children under 12. 

Anecdotally, I'm hearing about more kids getting Covid. Last weekend we checked out a camp where we are thinking of sending Ben (who's almost 6) next summer. The staffer doing the tour said that the camp was in session last year and there were no cases of Covid. In the last two weeks, two kids have come down with it. 

Nothing struck me this week more than a story on our local Facebook group one mom shared. Eight family members of hers who attended a burial all came down with Covid, including a four-year-old. They were outside and socially distanced, but were not wearing masks. They caught it from a teen who was unaware he had it. Thankfully, the symptoms were mild—headache, runny nose, cough and fatigue, along with a loss of smell and taste. 

Our family has never stopped wearing masks in indoor public spaces, but this made me think we should probably start wearing them if we're outdoors and there are a number of people around. These days, we are back to wearing KN95's (Ben wears triple-layer masks with carbon filters in them). And we are back to eating out only at places with outdoor seating. 

People in our area, Northern New Jersey, have been generally good about wearing masks. The anti-maskers are more vehement in other parts of the country, like Governor Greg Abbott in Texas who is prohibiting local communities from enacting mask mandates and that pastor near Nashville, TN, who recently threatened to kick members out of his congregation if they showed up in masks and who referred to the delta variant as "nonsense."

What's "nonsense"—and should actually be considered a criminal offense—is a public figure telling anyone not to mask up. Masks: they work. They protect the unprotected: my Ben, and other kids under 12. They protect my Max and others who are at higher risk for complications from Covid. 

The evil twin of mask resistance is vaccination indignation. My eye doctor is only seeing patients who have gotten the Covid vaccine, and when you call his staff to make an appointment they inform you of that and ask you to bring your vaccination card. As I sat waiting for the doc to examine my eyes the other day, I heard a patient in the waiting room talking loudly and telling him that he had no right to only see vaccinated people and that she wasn't going to be getting one. He stayed calm, and told her that he would call her later to discuss it. Me, I felt my blood pressure rising. 

This is all to say: Get vaxxed, wear masks and I highly recommend making paint color decisions as a means of distraction. 

Beaming healthy vibes at all of you!

Are people in your area wearing masks?   


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  2. I read an article yesterday about a heated school board meeting in Tennessee yesterday that made me both mad and sad.

    It makes me upset that some parents unwittingly put their kids at risk due to their anti-vaccine and anti-mask beliefs. It just makes my blood boil.

    We were having a great summer here in Ontario, Canada for a while. But cases are back up to 500+ per day, which is high for us. I’m dreading another lockdown and semester of virtual learning. :-(

    Let’s hope we can all turn this around this fall and avoid another devastating wave!


Thanks for sharing!

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