On Monday afternoon, as I was driving to my parents’ house to drop off a batch of Christmas cookies, I started to notice a tickle in the back of my throat. I was concerned enough to not give them hugs and only stayed to chat in their kitchen for 20 minutes. It felt like post-nasal drip from allergies, so I didn’t worry that much.
On Tuesday morning, I cancelled my jogging date with a buddy, did two Zoom calls, and knew that things were getting worse. I drove around the area, hitting up every little town’s pharmacy looking for tests. One place swabbed my nose, but said it would take four days to get results. I texted my findings with local friends, who were also circling the county in their cars looking for tests.
On Wednesday morning, I finally got a rapid test at a local Urgent Care Center. I was positive.
For the record, I am fully vaccinated and boosted. My booster shot was two weeks ago, so plenty of time to take effect. I wear masks in public places. I have not been avoiding activities, because life and sanity are important, too.
I would describe this infection as halfway between a regular cold and the flu — not horrible, but not nothing either.
The other family members seem to be spared. Jonah is still at college, but will be coming home in time for a 2:30 covid test. Steve and Ian waited on line for two hours outside the public school that gave all residents a free COVID test. They’ll get results later today. They look fine, but who knows.
This virus is everywhere in our area right now. I’m getting constant texts from local friends and family — all fully vaccinated — talking about the positive results around them. It’s crazy.
My prediction is that half of all Americans are going to get it by the end of March. It’s extremely contagious, and vaccines won’t stop it. The good news is that the illness isn’t too bad, and it will push out more virulent versions of the virus. I think schools are going to shutdown again and that things are going to get very confusing in the next few weeks.
If you haven’t gotten your booster shot, get it now. I think it helps. There’s really no point in hiding out completely, because living in your basement is not sustainable or healthy. Stock up on testing kits if you can find them. Put some meals in the freezer. And just live your life. Whatever.
In the meantime, we canceled the extended family holiday parties here. At least three of the 16 guests are positive. Steve will have to figure out how to make the day feel festive for the boys. I can’t leave my bedroom to cook and finish the present wrapping. It’s fine. We’ll get some takeout food and watch lots of movies from our respective corners of the house.
PICTURE: Two-hour line to get COVID tests out the local middle school.
26 thoughts on “Merry Covid Christmas”
I have to say, “We’re all going to get it” isn’t very reassuring. The NYT’s morning newsletter has a piece on risks to older adults. In our family, no one wants to put our 77 year old mother or sister-with-cancer at risk, so we canceled Xmas (sister-the-nurse has also been directly exposed a few times). She also says her workplace is severely understaffed because of staff testing Covid+.
Btw, s-t-n said this when another sister asked about what people with Omicron are being hospitalized for:
“It depends on what other issues a patient has. If they have cardiac disease then a fever can cause arrhythmia. My patient who’s hospitalized has COVID pneumonia. So more than likely pneumonia. But infection can cause an increase in blood sugar so your diabetic could suffer from acute renal injury or failure.”
We had been hoping to gather as a family and now I don’t know if that will happen. I am trying to rationally assess, but it is very confusing and complicated.
I do think the ways that we try to maintain some sense of agency and control and modify our own protocols and assess our risk is interesting and complicated. I note my very real tendency to consider people I know to be less of a risk than people I don’t, and sometimes that makes sense (I know more about their vax status), but there is a lot I don’t know.
bj said, “I note my very real tendency to consider people I know to be less of a risk than people I don’t, and sometimes that makes sense (I know more about their vax status), but there is a lot I don’t know.”
This isn’t super nice, but I think the underlying logic is sometimes, “Is this person worth the risk?”
Pre-vaccine, that was definitely my attitude. My social circle shrank way down, and I didn’t bother meeting new people or getting together with people that I didn’t know well–because I didn’t know if they were worth the risk.
Post-vaccine, I’m pretty happy to meet people, but might take a break from “extra” social events during a surge.
But we don’t have regular in-person contact with our older relatives, so that makes it much easier to make these decisions.
My kiddo thinks that I was grumpy yesterday afternoon because of your positive test (which makes no rational sense whatsoever). Hope everyone stays healthy (as is statistically expected), that the positive doesn’t spread, and that you reach for joy with whatever spoons you have.
We went through the pandemic until this month with only one close contact notification (and I was notified about that one a good 20 days or so after, for a variety of reasons). This month, kiddo had close contact at school, other kiddo at college, and spouse this Saturday. I have home tests, and everyone has tested negative so far, but I consider that inconclusive. Yes, we can’t live in our basements, even me. I think we will see a lot of positives around us and many people will get the virus and am so hopeful (but not certain) that vaccination + the potential lower disease load of the virus will move us through this period.
We’ll continue to rapid test & last family member is getting boosted today.
Oh no! I hope I wasn’t the cause of your grumpiness! I am fine. I’m reading books and will be back to normal soon.
You will likely lose your sense of smell/taste in a few days. Both S and my BIL had that happen after the fever/respiratory symptoms.
Glad to hear that you are fine!
Hello from the UK. Thank you very much for your post. I have liked it for the fact you have told us in some detail about the timeline of events, rather than you feeling rotten.
I am sorry to have to tell you that I am not surprised. If I may explain.
I have had my fair share of vaccines. I used to think vaccines were of some use until, at 60 years of age last year, I researched properly. I changed my mind.
Covid 19 is the ‘flu, dressed up as a monster to scare people, re-branded if you will. This helps big pharma etc, control the populace and make more money.
The ‘flu is the internal toxicosis of the body, mainly via urea, partly due to metabolism of food and partly due to the many poisons in our environment which can and do enter our bodies in the air, food and water.
Injecting poisons such as via vaccines merely adds to the toxicosis problem. Vaccines have never been of any use, it is merely that constant and persistent ‘advertising’ persuaded people that they were of use. The various deaths and harm have been well-documented over the decades. It is being documented now.
It is all very straightforward. Vitamin D deficiency is the true pandemic due to indoor working and living away from the sunshine which, if we do the right thing things, will give us vitamin D (free!). Big pharma etc. are not keen on free as they don’t make much money out of it.
Vaccines are neuro-toxins, if there is anything in them at all, as are most big pharma drugs. Therefore they are at best pointless.
If your immune system is in good order then by and large you will tolerate a poisonous vaccine. If weakened you will suffer various side effects. If your immune system is very poor you may die.
Boosting you immune system with vitamin D can go a long way to protecting you against the toxicosis, but vitamin C is very good as an anti-oxidant to help flush the toxins out of your system. Vitamin D levels drop as you use it up during the winter unless you boost it in some manner.
By and large you should be able to gain your vitamins etc from good, untainted food. Highly processed foods will not help.
I have done much on Covid 19 etc., but should you be interested, here is my link to vaccines.
This gives access to my main Covid 19 Summary and that gives access to the various other issues. I also cover the statistics in the USA.
i have also explained what is going on with all the variants of which there are far more than most people know, although once you understand what is going one you will realise it is all phony.
And this may be of use.
As regards your prediction that ‘…that half of all Americans are going to get it by the end of March.’ I consider this reasonable, as those who have had the vaccines will suffer from the toxins in them (assuming there is anything in them as we can never be truly sure).
Please note I do use humour as necessary on posts and pages to lighten the mood and help make the points.
May I take the opportunity to wish you and your family a very happy Christmas.
Please excuse the nom-de-plume, this is as much for fun as a riddle for people to solve if they wish.
Laura–hope you recover quickly–at least being vaccinated and boosted has likely kept you from being hospitalized. Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Get well soon! I hope you have a mild case, that will add natural immunity to your vaccine and booster.
The holidays where things went wrong are more memorable than those that meet expectations. We all remember the Halloween when one kid had a stomach bug, thus couldn’t go trick-or-treating.
If you want to watch something, I recommend “The Goes Wrong Show.” It’s available on Amazon Prime, especially The Nativity.
We’ve used netflix teleparty when we can’t all be in the same room to watch the same thing (Prime has something, too).
And, having zoom/FB screens open to be together in separate rooms (say, when kiddo quarantined last thanksgiving when she came home).
bj said, “We’ve used netflix teleparty when we can’t all be in the same room to watch the same thing (Prime has something, too).”
That’s a good idea!
I am sorry, this sucks – the illness and the timing. Hope you’re kept well supplied with presents and chocolates shoved under the door.
Sorry to hear this, Laura; I hope you and all your family will be well. I also hope your predictions for the coming year will be wrong…but I fear they won’t be.
I don’t trust Michael Mina’s expertise on tests, especially the push for quicker approval because he is part of eMed, which gives me Theranos vibes, tech people thinking they are going to revolutionize the messiness of biology with disruption and quicker faster more efficient solutions.
“Our digital point-of-care platform embraces quantitative medicine and is revolutionizing the healthcare industry with the first-of-its-kind at-home rapid testing solution. ”
And, they would directly benefit from the policies Mina advocates for on Covid tests. Mind you he might be right, but I’d want to see the suggestions from someone who doesn’t have a direct financial interest.
Medicine/FDA moves really slow and indeed it is reasonable to ask questions about speed. But biology is phenomenally mess and consequences of mistaken approvals significant. One of the FDA’s , but one of it’s proudest moments is that it did not approve thalidomide for pregnant women, Frances Oldham Kelsey prevented that particular tragedy: https://www.fda.gov/about-fda/fda-history-exhibits/frances-oldham-kelsey-medical-reviewer-famous-averting-public-health-tragedy
bj said, “I don’t trust Michael Mina’s expertise on tests, especially the push for quicker approval because he is part of eMed, which gives me Theranos vibes, tech people thinking they are going to revolutionize the messiness of biology with disruption and quicker faster more efficient solutions.”
And yet Europeans are swimming in cheap or free COVID tests…
“And, they would directly benefit from the policies Mina advocates for on Covid tests.”
There are so many different companies that could do this that I question how much benefit would accrue to Mina’s.
A fairer question is–is the abundance of home testing options benefiting Europe?
“One of the FDA’s , but one of it’s proudest moments is that it did not approve thalidomide for pregnant women, Frances Oldham Kelsey prevented that particular tragedy.”
And yet they also approve a ton of iffy cancer drugs, plus that bad, extremely expensive Alzheimer’s drug.
I’m not saying that the FDAs cautious approach is the right one, just that I don’t trust Mina after seeing the rhetoric of eMed. Abbott, the maker of the test Mina thinks should be used as the “gold standard” doesn’t gain (and, might be economically worse off, since part of what they bring to the table is the knowledge to navigate the byzantine regulatory framework). I wouldn’t trust an Abbott representative arguing against faster approval, either.
I just saw a tweet by an economist saying something along the lines of “the market would respond to the need for tests if we just stopped stopping people from making them”. But, that’s the point of the regulatory framework, to not just let the “market” make anything they want and call it a test by finding the kind of loopholes that Theranos exploited.
If one can be ‘glad’ about anything in this Covid saga, I’m glad that it’s looking like a relatively mild case for you (still miserable, but not threatening) and that your family has avoided the infection.
I hope that there are (suitably socially distanced) treats and care packages available at your bedroom door 😉
We don’t have (or at least, as far as we know, we don’t have) Omicron lose in our community – but Delta is still spreading, albeit at a low rate.
My next-door neighbour is coughing like mad – and I keep saying to myself, “hope you’ve been tested….” (their patio is just across the fence-and-drive from my study window, which is why I’m hearing)
I haven’t asked because a) these are the neighbours who are aggressive about their privilege (lawyers) and we’ve had a few run-ins, and b) if they *are* infectious, I don’t want to catch it!
They are, however, still planning big parties for both Christmas and New Year (viz the aforementioned auditory pathway). I don’t know if this means that they *have* been tested, and it’s just an unseasonable cold (middle of Summer here); or they’re avoiding testing because they don’t want to ‘spoil’ their arrangements (you can tell I don’t much like them, can’t you).
I have the final Christmas prep to do (Christmas Eve, here in NZ), – just the pâté and trifle to make – and then putting my feet up…..
One good thing about Mr 14 having firmly told me that there is no Santa – is that I don’t have to tiptoe around after midnight, filling Christmas stockings!
Best wishes to everyone for a happy and peaceful Christmas, and good health for the holiday season.
Ann wrote, “I have the final Christmas prep to do (Christmas Eve, here in NZ), – just the pâté and trifle to make – and then putting my feet up…..”
Trifle is AMAZING!
It’s big in the Southern US, too, and I don’t know why the rest of the country hasn’t caught on.
“Best wishes to everyone for a happy and peaceful Christmas, and good health for the holiday season.”
Merry Christmas and good health to everybody!
We’ve successfully introduced the litter box to the street cat that we brought home yesterday, we’re making progress on the fleas (GAH!), and I’m trying to figure out if I’m allergic to the cat or not. I had my booster yesterday and something has been biting me, so it’s hard to sort out all the symptoms. My girls loooove kitty and kitty loooves the various amenities we are providing. It’s such an April 2020 thing to do to get a pet, but my kids made friends with this particular street cat and one thing led to another.
I hope it stays mild, doesn’t spread, and goes away fast. Will you be able to find out whether it’s Delta or Omicron?
Here in New England, hospitalizations are spiking, but oddly enough it’s Delta. I keep hearing stories like yours coming out of the New York and worry it’s coming this direction.
In the meantime, my town is still super low on cases, not spiking at all. I’m agonizing because although I’m willing to stay mostly locked down and masked on a day to day basis, I need to see my elderly mom. I went two years without seeing her and just came back from a visit two weeks ago. Two years is a lot when someone is in her eighties.
Nora wrote, “Here in New England, hospitalizations are spiking, but oddly enough it’s Delta. I keep hearing stories like yours coming out of the New York and worry it’s coming this direction.”
After a really nice post-Delta stretch, our town in TX has started to get 30-40ish cases per 100k per day again. I don’t know for a fact, but I feel like this has to be Omicron, because we already did Delta in the late summer and early fall, and this is spiking really fast. Statewide, Texas is starting to spike with new cases, but hospitalizations are just inching up with deaths pretty flat. It’s too soon to say–I’ll feel more confident in a week or two–but I feel like that is probably similar to the Omicron pattern in South Africa.
This was funny:
There’s no good space in my current home for a true “library” (the best is in potentially the basement, and I am now fantasizing about a bookshelf filled renovation), but this article was a joy:
“So how many books does it take to feel book-wrapt? Mr. Byers cited a common belief that 1,000 is the minimum in any self-respecting home library. Then he quickly divided that number in half. Five hundred books ensure that a room “will begin to feel like a library,” he said. And even that number is negotiable. ”
How Many Books Does It Take to Make a Place Feel Like Home?
As some of you may have seen, the Cleveland area has been hit hard. We had to cancel flights there because my sister’s family all got the virus. BIL had it the worst and is experiencing the most severe loss of taste. But they are recovering fine.
My sister, a nurse practitioner, emphasized the importance of eating even if your appetite is nonexistent- she said they’ve seen some people get really weak because of skipping food that just seems tasteless.
Marianne wrote, “We had to cancel flights there because my sister’s family all got the virus.”
And the airlines are cancelling, too!
Hundreds of flights in the US are getting cancelled.
“My sister, a nurse practitioner, emphasized the importance of eating even if your appetite is nonexistent- she said they’ve seen some people get really weak because of skipping food that just seems tasteless.”
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