#105: We May Think We’re Done with the Virus, but the Virus is not Done with Us

It is seductive to think that we can go back to normal anytime soon.

At least within the so-called “Western” World, we have safe and functioning vaccines, masks, abilities to work remotely for many of us, and to distance physically. There should be no debate as to how to proceed, and yet, it is not so.

We knew early on that this would get worse. Sure, some – not all – pathogens seem to get weaker with time, but that is not true for all, and such a description is already overly simplified. Pathogens do not think, they do not decide to survive. They procreate, and wherever we provide them with a fertile ground, they will do so. Given enough selection pressure, those pathogens that can procreate without destroying us will survive only because we let them. Right now, we are giving them ample room to circulate, so no, we will see variants arise that will be progressively more aggressive – because we allow them to do that.

We are all tired. We are all sick of this, even if we haven’t gotten physically sick from it. But we all want this to end.

It’s not up to magical thinking to make it so. Vaccinate, wear masks, distance, isolate – globally. Sorry, no better news here. If this does not end soon, it’s due to those who choose to be careless – and to not care for others. Some people cannot follow this prescription, and those who can need to make sure that they are protected as well. Is that so difficult?

#104: Psychological Long Covid

As far as I know, I have not been infected with the novel Coronavirus. I have been sheltering in place as much as possible, have been distancing myself physically, maintaining a sanitizing regime, wearing masks, getting doubly vaccinated, maintaining safety precautions even now, listening to the advice and latest scientific debate and not just to some statements by politically mandated officials. The virus is real, so are its variants, and vaccines help but are not perfect. It is not over.

Even as I have not been infected – and I would be very surprised if I have given my precautions – I somehow feel as if I had something like “long Covid.” In my case, it cannot probably be medical, it is probably psychological. Lack of inspiration, motivation, difficult sleep, nightmares, and an overall sense of dread have made this a difficult time.

But this is not about me; I don’t like to draw attention to personal matters typically. I’m not trying to whine or complain, but to maybe validate your feelings in case you are experiencing something similar. I am noticing this in others, whether it is necessarily verbalized.

Additionally, I have witnessed friends of mine who have moved into political radicalization, virus relativization or denial, anti-vaccine and conspiracy theories, and an overall anti-democratic, anti-scientific extremist spectrum with affinities to right-wing extremist positions. This is especially troubling, but again, not limited to myself.

This crisis is affecting us on a multitude of levels, and we need to give us all some leeway, some grace, some sense of understanding that this is affecting us psychologically and socially much more than we would care to admit.

These are not easy times, let’s just admit it and be gracious to each other.