COVID Summer

I thought this was supposed to be over. The vaccine would show up, everybody would take it, and life would get back to that "new normal" everyone was talking about.

But instead, we're seeing a fourth spike thanks to a brutal combo of the delta variant, vaccine hesitance, anti-vax propaganda, and a general unwillingness to make personal decisions while keeping the general public's health in mind.

Thankfully this hasn't been the worst summer. Last year easily takes the title for worst year ever. I've been able to see friends, regularly go to the climbing gym, and not constantly think about COVID. That was a sorely needed reprieve from the pandemic lock-down restrictions, but now we're sliding back into lock-down mode because this pandemic just isn't over yet.

I don't want to place too much blame on anti-vaxxers. While that group contains a lot of misguided people, there are a select few fraudsters at the root of it all looking to make a buck that should take the real blame. These leaders and their credulous followers are responsible for rising rates of all sorts of preventable infectious diseases, but I think we'd probably still be in the same spot if they didn't exist. The delta variant is brutal. It didn't originate in the US, so a fully vaccinated population wouldn't have stopped it from mutating. Sure, we'd not be facing shortages of ICU and hospital beds had more people gotten the vaccine, but we would likely be facing the similar restrictions that are being put back in place right now to prevent community spread.

Despite all my complaining, I'm pretty lucky. I'm in Washington, where the populace generally values scientific evidence and don't have a governor who is actively working to kill people (like the ones in Florida or Texas). The restrictions here amount to "wear a mask in public" and "please get the vaccine if you haven't yet". Seventy percent of my county is vaccinated, and while we have substantial community transmission right now, it's nowhere near other parts of the US or the world in general.

But I'm scared for the winter. If we get another spike like last year it's going to be the worst one yet. Delta is nasty, and unless something changes we will very likely have to go back to general lock-downs in order to save lives.

Lock-downs suck, as necessary as they may be. My mental health still hasn't rebounded from the trauma inflicted by the isolation and uncertainty of 2020.

Here's hoping the vaccine holds up over the long term so that me and my vaccinated friends and family can try to live some semblance of a normal life, but I'm mentally preparing for the worst.

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