The American Civil War pitted brother against brother in the fight over slavery. Each side was absolutely convinced it was on the side of right. Even now, over 150 years later, some people still believe that the South had God on its side. I’m not saying that the current polarization over COVID is in the same league. But it does share some of the same blind devotion to a cause.
Even though it has killed millions of people, some believe that COVID is just a bad cold. Hospitals are fuller now than they were in Spring 2020 from that “cold.” Almost 99% of all cases are the omicron variant that some claim is very mild. Breakthrough infections are soaring. The only good news is that vaccinated and boosted people get a milder illness. They are just as contagious as people who get sicker.
I’m pretty tired of dealing with this disease. Mrs. Lion and I have N-95 masks and wear them. That’s no guarantee that we won’t get sick, but it is the best we can do. Both of us have type 2 diabetes. That puts us at higher risk. We have to be careful about every decision we make. Since being vaccinated and boosted doesn’t guarantee immunity, we have been forced to make hard choices.
For example, Mrs. Lion was supposed to attend a retirement dinner last night. It was for someone she knew for nearly a decade. She cancelled. The risk of contracting omicron is simply too great. If either or both of us get it, we are at significant risk. Does taking extreme precautions guarantee we are safe? Of course not. We still have to go to the supermarket. Our plan is to make every effort to limit our exposure.
There’s another, more serious problem with COVID, even mild cases. According to a study from South Africa, thirty percent of people who recover, suffer from long-haul COVID. Until now, no one understood exactly what is behind these long-term problems. It turns out that tiny blood clots form in the circulatory system. This isn’t unusual. The autoimmune system eliminates them. However, former COVID sufferers have extra material in those clots that prevent them from being broken up. The study doesn’t explain how the micro-clots eventually end up causing the wide range of health problems associated with long haul COVID. It does show that the disease creates lasting changes in the body.
My point is that there are good reasons why the world’s medical community is so concerned about this disease. It’s plain stupid to minimize the importance of this pandemic. Hospitals across the US are cancelling elective surgeries because they don’t have staff to provide care because of omicron. I’m grateful that Mrs. Lion and I are vaccinated (and boosted). We aren’t stupid enough to believe we are safe from infection.
I consider it irresponsible for anyone to argue against any preventative measures that you and I can take. I hate wearing an N-95 mask, It’s hot and uncomfortable. I want to go to the casino and play the slots. I hated to sell our tickets to “My Fair Lady” on New Year’s Eve. Mrs. Lion is sorry to miss her old boss’ retirement dinner. I worry when I hear that a friend actively avoids precautions. I don’t have enough to afford to lose even one.