Pandemic Life: Late January 2022

I was hoping to post a pandemic living update AFTER the omicron peak was far behind us, but the peak isn’t happening everywhere at the same time. While there is a lot of chatter about how the infections can be less serious with the omicron variant of COVID-19, they are still serious for too many people: the US is still losing more than 2,200 people to COVID EVERY DAY.

But: a downturn in local new case numbers after an alarming spike is still somewhat encouraging, and we’ll take encouragement where we can get it.

Screen grab from https://sf.gov/data/covid-19-cases-and-deaths this evening, showing how BIG the recent infection spike in San Francisco was, and how alarming it was considering our success in keeping rates low earlier in the pandemic. (There’s a lag in data gathering, so we’re always about a week behind the trend, but the steep drop is promising.)

As noted in an earlier post, there aren’t many restrictions that affect me, as a fully vaccinated and boosted person here in San Francisco. I now have some fashionable and very comfortable FFP2 masks (a European variation of a good mask standard) for transit and indoor public places, and can largely go anywhere and do anything. Outdoor dining has been delightful recently.

The bigger things I’m not doing – like flying on airplanes to visit other regions – relate to my risk tolerance. Why go to locations with poor health figures (indicated by low masking/vaccine rates), dangerously full hospitals, and/or unusually high case numbers? No one is preventing me from going, but regions that are struggling (or which are actively opposed to infection prevention politically) are unlikely to be both comfortable and fun.

(There are still countries that are restricting non-essential travel, and I don’t blame them – the US did the same thing! Some are much safer to travel within than the U.S., but that’s also why they are closed to Americans right now.)

A friend in [a European country] who had COVID in 2020 said they are tired of COVID restrictions, but… they’ve been under so few meaningful restrictions over the duration of this pandemic that I’m wondering if they are just saying that to be polite. (Currently: restaurants there must have guests depart before 11pm, and there are limits on group sizes of 8 for dinner, 50 for other events… how would this even be noticeable?) Another friend in their country just got COVID this month, and so may view it differently, but it may be too soon to ask.

I’m just excited that ZERO friends have announced new COVID infections in the past two weeks! That bodes well.

I visited an office that requires masking and vaccine boosters (YES!), and was quite comfortable. It was novel and vaguely pleasant to be in an office and around other people in a place with a safety culture! I… could get used to that.

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