flotsam, peeves, travel


Warning: one instance of swearing ahead.

I got a note from one of the Asia gang. She’s doing well, just checking in with us all.

They’ve contained community spread of COVID there.

And that means, they can see each other socially. She’d had 17 get-togethers in the last couple of weeks.

That also means they can safely reopen schools. If it’s not in the community, then the community can have normal interactions without spreading disease amongst themselves.

They’re having get-togethers and opening schools. I feel myself physically cringe at the idea of all that social interaction.

I cringe, of course, because here – where we don’t have COVID contained, where community spread is rampant (and more so in some places than others) – it would be irresponsible to the point of being unfathomable. Oh sure, we’re looking at potential school openings but we don’t have anything like a cohesive plan, let alone containment. The best we are doing here, anywhere, is slowing it down, keeping the curve flat(ish)… relatively few places have a true downward trajectory. In far more places we are still reaching new daily peaks.

It’s awful.

And yet there are still deniers out there. Another friend of mine told me their brother got it – he admitted he hadn’t been taking it seriously, thought it was all overblown. Until he actually got it himself; that’s when it got real. He’s now quarantining apart from his family to try to keep them safe. Hopefully he’ll make a full recovery. (Note to self: I need to remind my friend that his brother needs a cardio pulmonary workup in future. We don’t really know the long term aftereffects yet but it seems to impact the heart.)

I had someone tell me recently that we just have to accept we’re all going to get it, that herd immunity is the only real hope barring vaccine (external: why herd immunity is not the solution right now), they said, because there’s no such thing as containment. They didn’t mean it fatalistically as if that’s all that’s left to do BECAUSE WE’VE FUCKED THIS UP SO BADLY IN THE US. They meant in general, that it can’t be contained, so why try.

But some places are containing it. They’re testing and quarantining the sick apart from their families so whole households don’t pass it around and contact tracing so they know who else has been exposed… quarantining it out of local existence.

No, you can’t “cure” a virus. But if you don’t give a virus a new host to live in, it doesn’t have a place to go. No, it’s not easy with something this contagious. Yes, vaccines help fast track that process, it’s why we don’t have wild polio any more. But until we have that, we can limit whether we become a host for this virus. Lord, people, pretend we’re living in a SciFi adventure. Like, it’s an alien parasite, and you don’t know if you’re carrying it around but you can keep it from getting to your family, friends and neighbors if you live just a little defensively for their sake.

(Obviously not every community has the same opportunities to self-isolate/quarantine and social distance – just more ways we are broken – and we haven’t set our national response up to help bridge those gaps.)

Haha haha “national response” … Good one, right?

But we can all wear a mask in public to keep each other safe just in case we have it and don’t know it. We can slow it down, then we can back it up, then we can get control.

Well that would be the theory anyway. That our “leadership” still doesn’t have testing and PPE fully deployed at this late stage of the game, let alone an effective quarantine-and-contact-tracing strategy in place, or even consistent messaging about mask efficacy, means I can understand why we might all feel a little fatalistic about it.

But I feel bad for my friend from the Asia gang. Because although she is back to living an enviably ‘normal’ life, both of her kids are living here, and she can’t come here, or them there, until we turn this around.

She misses her kids, and she worries for them.

I miss my friend, and I can’t fly off to go visit her.

And because I don’t see that changing any time soon, I can’t even find joy in imagining it.