It’s been a while since I’ve written an update on the state of the world, or at least my little corner of it, as COVID-19 continues to influence our lives. The messages the media and news outlets of the world are starting to align again; this time, however, the announcements are starting to sound the reversal of imposed restrictions and a return to a life more open and familiar.
The World Health Organization isn’t ready to call it an endemic, at least not yet; you will no doubt remember this is the same WHO that waited too long before declaring COVID-19 a pandemic in the first place, so I expect there will be no early pronouncement of endemic conditions until there is little chance of the organization’s credibility being further harmed. This leaves the governments of countries around the world left to their own devices in order to determine when it is safe to remove the restrictions they imposed upon their citizens and allow them to return to lives they may find more familiar and comforting than the ones they lived when pandemically limited.
A year ago in May, Alberta’s premier announced ‘the best Summer ever,’ and by fall we were experiencing the Delta wave. In December, merely a week before Christmas, the Omicron wave was upon us, spreading so easily and quickly that testing could not keep up and true case counts will never be known. The latest wave saw patients admissions to hospitals eclipse that of the Delta wave, but this time, when the ICU numbers started to creep up, they did not exceed the levels that nearly brought collapse to the health care system in November. The difference with this wave was that our Chief Medical Officer of Health told us that if we were experiencing any of the symptoms, with testing revealing over 40% positivity, we should assume that we had COVID and to isolate until the symptoms, or 5 days had passed.
This past December also brought another gift to the world, the first anti-viral treatment was announced for approval, and we took another step closer to an endemic reality. The announcement of this important pandemic milestone roughly aligned with the announcements a year previously, of the first of the COVID-19 vaccines were proceeding to emergency approval.
For many, this sparked the first signs of stimulation of signs of movement in the dormant lifestyle we once knew (and perhaps had been previously lost to). The Boil was going to return, this was your final warning to hold tight to your Pause learnings. The warning was clear, the temperature is about to be turned up and you’re on notice, what comes with a return of freedoms and familiarity might not be all you’d hoped for, or need to live a happy, healthy life.
Had it not been for false starts, and hopes previously dashed, it might have been easy to get lost to the warmth of what was familiar and could be again and push rapidly towards it. Like a diver doing interval stops while surfacing, the call of the comfort of warm air, puffy whiteness of clouds, blue sky, and warm winds hidden just through the ripples of clear blue water is strong, but by now you know that to avoid pain and suffering, you must have the discipline to avoid surfacing too quickly. The border that separates our two states of existence, one with COVID infringed rights, and one that allows the ability to roam freely, beckons and tempts you to step over it, and you will, when you decide it’s the right time to do so. Do not rush, but be ready to seek help if you can’t find it within you to take that final step.Continue reading “COVID-19 endemic and endgames”