I’m day seven from the first day of omicron symptoms. While omicron itself is no longer bothering me – just a sniffle – I am bored as hell in my bedroom and want out. I isolated from my family since I got the COVID positive test last Wednesday and am now really, really sick of reading books in bed.
When the boys went for a long hike in New Paltz yesterday, I threw open the windows and tidied up the downstairs, which was a huge relief. My OCD was SO triggered by the state of affairs downstairs. While Steve made a fantastic feast for everyone on Christmas Eve, he did not clear the dining room table of the remnants of wrapping paper and other holiday clutter. He just pushed it all to one side of the table during dinner time. Although I ate upstairs in my bedroom, I was downstairs long enough to see this state of affairs and silently made plans to clean as soon as possible.
I am keeping my sanity, such as it is, by taking long family walks. Anything outdoors is fine, so Steve and I took a lovely two mile hike around the neighborhood this morning. I’ll do more loops through our suburban streets with the boys after lunch.
The Washington Post has a great list of how to handle breakthrough infections. Really worth bookmarking that one. Look, every family in New Jersey has someone sick with omicron right now. The official numbers are huge and highly underreported, because so many people are using the at-home kits right now. The official numbers are basically useless.
The good news is that this omicron is somewhere between a cold and the flu. There’s a slight fever in the beginning that made me wobbly for a day or two, but I have been way, way sicker in the past. For the most part, I’ve been fine. I’m healthy and got all the recommended vaccines/booster, so I’m sure that helped. It was so mild that I even considered just exposing the rest of my family, so we all got sick at the same time. I’m fairly certain that they’re all going to get it at some point, so why not get it when school and work are closed? We chose not to go that route.
So, if we’re going to live with the constant risk of viruses, what should we all do? How should we live in a COVID world?
I do believe that vaccines helped minimize the impact of this disease, so do that, of course. It’s really political incorrect to say this, but I would add that everyone should lose ten pounds and start getting regular exercise. Healthy people can bounce back faster. Old people, of course, can’t stop being old, and people with diabetes can’t stop being diabetic. They are going to have to be permanently careful. Sorry.
But there is absolutely no way that we can go back to 2020-2021 shutdowns of work and school. No way. It’s over. Kids are so massively damaged right now, and I hate everyone who tried to cover up that information last year. It’s shameful what happened to young people during the pandemic.
Masks may be permanent. At-home COVID tests might be permanent. But we must never shut up young people in the basement again.
UPDATE: Recognizing the fact that omicron is going to be everywhere soon, the CDC has reduced the isolation of positive people to five days after test, not ten. Which is good news for me. And good news for the country, because otherwise omicron would shut down schools, hospitals, and all critical infrastructure.
26 thoughts on “More COVID Gossip From the Isolation Tank”
Well said, Laura.
Glad to hear that you’re well enough to be bored and frustrated!
It does seem as though Omicron is much less virulent – based on the hospitalization rates I’m seeing reported. Although, like all Covid, it seems to be wildly unpredictable just who will suffer serious symptoms (friend of a friend, a dentist in his 30s, fit, healthy, no underlying health issues, dead of Covid – although this was pre-vaccination days).
And, I agree that the infection rates are highly likely to be under-reported – both through symptomless infection, and through the disinclination of people (well, at least people here), to jump through the government infection protocol hoops.
We’ve had several instances of multi-day reporting of Covid traces in wastewater (regularly tested in each city), with no accompanying Covid case reported. I think a lot of people are simply hunkering down, and not-reporting mild symptoms – at least until someone in the family needs medical care.
I agree about no more lockdowns. I attended a pre-Christmas neighbourhood gathering (outside – and all adults were vaccinated). The kids were running around playing in the garden – with my Mr 14 as the ringleader (he’s really good with little kids, and they adore him). The youngest kid present – 5 and a half – was looking longingly at the play, but clinging to his Mum – who told me that he’d become really anxious over lockdown, especially meeting ‘new’ people (i.e. not in his household). It took about 30 minutes for him to gather the courage to join in. And this is a ‘normal’ happy, healthy, outgoing kid, who’d been happily and self-confidently interacting with neighbours and other ‘strangers’ pre-lockdown. Just how much worse must it be for kids who have other issues.
He has an older sister – 7 – and both parents work – Mum from home, and Dad’s an arborist – so working outside the home. Which means that Mum has been carrying the load of schooling from home. She told me, that about the middle of October, she simply gave up, and they stopped doing any online learning – it was just too hard. Her thinking is that they have plenty of time to ‘make it up’ – which is true *if* this is the end of the lockdowns.
When do they decide you are ‘officially’ recovered and no longer infectious?
Officially, ten days after first symptoms, but there’s a push to make it five days. Because our infrastructure will collapse if people miss work for ten days.
Fat and over seventy, I am doing my best to fend it off until Paxlovid widely available. We have a big stock of N95s. Not going to an otherwise attractive New Year party to which we have been invited.
ds said, “Fat and over seventy, I am doing my best to fend it off until Paxlovid widely available.”
That’s wise. There are really good therapeutics in the pipeline, but not widely available. So just delaying getting Omicron for 30+ days could make a life-saving difference to older and more vulnerable people.
In a pinch, I’d go for fluvoxamine. Heck, get a bottle right now for just in case, if you can talk a doctor into it. The timetable for “get diagnosed”/”get on therapeutic” is pretty tight.
“really political incorrect to say this, but I would add that everyone should lose ten pounds and start getting regular exercise. Healthy people can bounce back faster. Old people, of course, can’t stop being old, and people with diabetes can’t stop being diabetic. They are going to have to be permanently careful. Sorry. ”
Political correctness is irrelevant, It’s just not empirically possible for people to “loose 10 pounds” and lower their risk (any more than they can get younger or stop having diabetes). But, I agree that there aren’t really any other solutions other than being personally careful, given how frighteningly fast this virus transmits. Measles was the bogeyman of viruses and omicron seems in the same category. I don’t know how society handles the carefulness, though, since a worker in essential categories can’t just “be more careful”. The 5 day isolation might help with staffing, as long as people don’t get seriously sick.
I am personally now focused on my older parents (who are not social butterflies, and thus do not want to go to parties, or theaters or eat at restaurants), but, they do want to see us. And that imposes constraints on us. I am trying to mitigate the risk by using rapid tests before we see them and I breathe a sigh of relief when wrestling is paused, but I’m not going to tell my kid to stay home from school (even though classmates are now turning up positive).
A friend started a thread on “how are you reassessing risk” and got a very wide gamut of responses on twitter, from, one person who said I am not seeing anyone to people who said I am prioritizing my emotional health.
I did in fact lose ten kilos in the last three months, and (NOSTRUM ALERT!) it was by not drinking wine with dinner and skipping breakfast every day, not eating til noon. This was based on, yes, a magic diet book…. in this case a Dr Fung who advocates intermittent fasting. I’m not generally a person who likes self help books, but this one has a lot of plausible statements about insulin and ketosis, and I am smitten. Still fat, but ten kilos less fat than I was. Can pick up a newspaper off the ground!
Good for you! I’d die without breakfast–or at least not get anything done.
I started seeing a trainer weekly after I got vaccinated this spring and have done a ton of Wii Fit on my own since then (50/50 yoga and strength training). I haven’t lost any weight, but I’m stronger, have more stamina, can do a 60+ second plank and am lifting more and more. I can do this, too:
That is really hard!
Between the exercise program, being on the right side of 50, and being triple-vaxxed, I feel pretty good about my chances with COVID.
Interestingly, the exercise is actually kind of motivating with regard to cutting down on diet. There’s nothing like doing body weight exercises for inspiring the thought, “If I weren’t so fat, this would be a lot easier.” Not quite there yet, but baby steps.
My MIL is a patient of his and has lost 105 lbs and her diabetes is much, much better managed. She is switching to a vegan diet now though for maintaining.
Huh. Never heard of the guy. Googling…
bj said, “Political correctness is irrelevant, It’s just not empirically possible for people to “loose 10 pounds” and lower their risk (any more than they can get younger or stop having diabetes).”
Losing 10 pounds might be a big ask…but a lot more people could avoid gaining an extra 10 pounds or keep up or increase their activity level.
A lot of kids put on extra weight during the pandemic, perhaps because of school closures, too much time indoors, lack of PE, lack of recess, lack of sports, lack of unstructured interaction with other kids, full days spent on screens, etc. Those kids would be lower risk if they hadn’t gained so much extra weight or if they’d been able to stay more active.
Little life style things matter. For example, my college student normally spends about 2 hours every day just walking back and forth to and from class. That’s just built into her schedule. If she were remote and just doing online classes, there’s no way that she would be walking 2 hours a day.
“A friend started a thread on “how are you reassessing risk” and got a very wide gamut of responses on twitter, from, one person who said I am not seeing anyone to people who said I am prioritizing my emotional health.”
I am planning to enforce a several day “bubble” on the family before the two younger kids and I fly to see family in WA/ID in a week. I wouldn’t normally bother, but we will be seeing older relatives. Not that the older relatives will bother! As my dad recently pointed out to me, they’ve served 80,000 some people face-to-face since the pandemic started, so they consider themselves as good as boosted. (My parents believe they got COVID in WA in Jan. 2020.)
We don’t normally have contact with older relatives in TX, so I feel pretty comfortable doing whatever. However, my 11th grader’s BFF is a COVID cautious doctor’s kid, so we calibrate our invitations to their comfort level. We would have organized a big trip to the new Spiderman, but with Omicron starting to surge locally, I knew the doctor’s family would worry about it (older relatives and need to stay healthy to work through the surge). So, we’re more or less buttoned down until our WA/ID trip. My 11th grader has been playing tennis with his friend, which is an ideal pandemic sport, especially with the warm winter we’ve been happening.
I expect that school and college will open normally and we’ll have basically a normal spring, maybe with some glitches in January. Omicron seems to blow through really fast.
“I expect that school and college will open normally and we’ll have basically a normal spring, maybe with some glitches in January.”
kiddo’s college has messaged that they plan to open, that they are taking all reasonable precautions and shutdown should not be one of them at this point. I guess you might be saying you, personally will have a normal spring, but, if you mean everyone, boy, I hope you are right. But do you ever go back and check your prediction accuracy?
I really did believe in the vaccine induced drop in June producing a potentially normal summer and I think I was more optimistic than you about the fall/winter. But I have lost all confidence in my assessments over the course of the pandemic!
bj said, “I guess you might be saying you, personally will have a normal spring, but, if you mean everyone, boy, I hope you are right. But do you ever go back and check your prediction accuracy?”
I mean my kids’ school and my oldest’s college. My guess is that Omicron will blow through here by the end of January and spring will be fine. Summer, who knows. There have been two bad summers here in a row, so I’m not sure that Omicron is the end, but I’d like it to be, and South Africa suggests that it is the end…at least of COVID as a big killer.
Regarding my predictions, I was expecting a big COVID winter for everybody for 2021-2022, but I was caught by surprise by how bad the Southern summer 2021 Delta surge was. I probably should have seen that coming (since summer 2020 was bad here), but I didn’t.
I probably did expect more disruptions for school in 2020-2021 than actually happened. It went pretty smoothly at both my kids’ private school and college, although things got pretty hairy in terms of public high school cases by the end of 2020. The college removed a ton of COVID infrastructure from campus during summer 2021. Fall 2021 went really well, with barely a word about COVID at school, and then a little uptick at the college at the end of the year. (College COVID numbers may have been assisted by not testing vaccinated students and staff…) I don’t think this region will be done with COVID by the time school starts in the first week of January, although the post-MLK day start may help the college a ton. That’s three weeks from now, which is a lot in Omicron time.
This region did not have a big COVID surge in spring 2020 or spring 2021, so I’m kind of betting that if another surge happens, it will start around June or July 2022…which will not have any impact on the normal school year.
This is all tea leaf reading…but you kind of have to in order to do any kind of planning.
Hometown U. has been really militant about willing normalcy into being this year.
For example, at the beginning of the school year, everybody was informed that Hometown U. is not going to be providing enormous numbers of quarantine rooms this year, so have your own quarantine plan!
Masks are still required in classrooms and labs, but very few other places on campus. And nothing bad happened this fall…There was a minor case surge at the beginning of the fall term, very low cases, and then a mini-surge around finals–but very few cases compared to Fall 2020. (The campus community is about 80% fully vaccinated at this point, with staff somewhat more so than students.)
It’s possible that Hometown U.’s stats have benefited from not testing asymptomatic vaccinated students.
I’m really glad you’re doing well. Hurrah vaccines! I had a big exposure last week – worked for over 2 hrs in a tiny office with someone who tested negative RAT/positive PCR the next day. Both masked and vaxxed. So far so good, but we did cancel family Xmas and moved the dinner to NY Eve. I’m off anyway so can control my exposures.
I think physical activity is great for everyone. I’m not sure 10 lbs is a radical health difference for most people but can’t disagree that getting exercise is the best.
I was just reading the latest COVID management update from Hometown U. According to their projections, Omicron should be peaking/receding in our area shortly after the beginning of class. They are concerned that (based on what has been seen in other industries) there’s a big risk of disruption due to absences (instructors, cafeteria, maintenance, etc.). They haven’t decided what to do, but the options include the following:
–voluntary boosters (the campus is currently about 80% fully vaccinated according to 2021 standards)
–masks for at least the first two weeks of class (I didn’t realize they were planning on removing the requirement for the spring)
–remote class for the first two weeks
–more surveillance testing, with the boosted and recently infected exempted
As always this year, students are encouraged to figure out their own quarantine/isolation plan in advance.
I don’t love the idea of remote class, but I think Hometown U. will try to keep it short. What we’re all leery of is the tendency of “two weeks” to turn into a semester. On the other hand, I have no confidence that classroom masking will have any significant impact on slowing Omicron spread, so my personal preference is for two (real) weeks remote, as I think the concerns about quarantine/isolation disruptions are well-founded. You wouldn’t want to wind up with a situation where you literally couldn’t feed the college kids…
On the other hand, the planned start of class is three weeks from now, and things could genuinely be receding by then. At the moment, community numbers are suddenly 40+ per 100k per day, with hospitalizations rising pretty slowly–but it’s hard to tell during holiday disruptions what is really happening.
The campus being around 75% fully vaccinated during Delta was surprisingly effective during a major community surge, but there are presumably going to be way more mild breakthrough cases during Omicron. Of course, it’s also possible that the CDC is going to trim down rules so much that students and staff will not have to isolate very long…
The modelling I’m seeing is suggesting an early February peak — US wide, and in Florida. Kiddo’s school doesn’t start ’til late January. Remote will mean many are on campus (because people are from all over, including international). Since Kiddo is in a suite in college and off board, so the food disruptions that occurred for others didn’t affect her in the fall term. With a big surge, I think they might have to modify their current quarantine rules, which involve putting kids in hotel rooms — potentially exempt those in singles like my kiddo? Boy, I’m glad I don’t have to plan these things. I’m driving myself nuts just considering it for my own family.
I would not be unhappy to see my kiddo’s high school stay remote through January (though I would want to see a clear reversal plan in place — my biggest complaint about last year). I don’t know what my kiddo would think. He wouldn’t use the time to party, so his exposure would go down.
bj said, “The modelling I’m seeing is suggesting an early February peak — US wide, and in Florida.”
It’s really hard to believe that, given that the different parts of the country are at very different places in the Omicron process. For example, New York State is at 175 cases per 100k right now, while Montana is at 15. I would totally buy that Montana might be headed for an early February peak…but New York? New Jersey (162 per 100k)? No way.
Given the way “everybody” has been getting COVID in the NE over the last two weeks, Omicron in the NE looks like an MLM scheme that is about to crash in NY/NJ/RI.
If you look at Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine (which were really big 2-3 weeks ago), everybody’s already bought the leggings. On the other hand, there are a bunch of states that obviously haven’t bought the leggings yet.
“Remote will mean many are on campus (because people are from all over, including international).”
That’s the kind of remote that doesn’t sound like it will help a ton with transmission.
“Boy, I’m glad I don’t have to plan these things. I’m driving myself nuts just considering it for my own family.”
Yep. For the big colleges, there are billion dollar budgets in flux.
“I would not be unhappy to see my kiddo’s high school stay remote through January.”
I wouldn’t mind if my 11th grader’s high school was remote for a couple weeks in January…as long as it really was two weeks, as he’s so self-sufficient. He’d hate it, though. I’d be dying if it was my 3rd grader, especially if they piled on the work. I’d probably send her to the therapy center at least several days a week to do her school work, maybe even all day. I think my college student would do fine with the academics, but (as I was mentioning earlier) she’d lose a lot of built-in physical activity.
OK, need to force myself to take a covid break. Hope you are recovered and up and around and share pictures soon if not now!
ha. Yeah, I’m done with it. No pictures, because we haven’t done anything. But taking the boys into the city tomorrow, because I need to check out the Banksy exhibit.
Enjoy! Just encountered a New Yorker cartoon, of someone lying in bed with the caption, “once again, I have failed to take advantage of all New York has to offer”. Always enjoy seeing you taking advantage of what New York has to offer!
Out of curiosity, what was your COVID timeline? How long do you think it took you to stop being actually sick?
I’m wondering if the new CDC 5-day guideline is basically correct, given that Omicron seems to be a faster bug.
I still have a small sniffle. I was infected – I assume — Dec. 18. Got minor symptoms – sore throat — Dec. 20. Started getting fever — Dec. 21. Totally clogged up and feverish for two days. Then super minor symptoms after that. I’ve been mostly felt fine for six days now. Now, I’m 10 days since first symptoms.
The CDC says that we are mostly contagious, two days before first symptoms and three days after. So, even though I could possibly still test positive, I am not contagious.
The 5-day timeline is probably right. That 5 day timeline was probably always correct. However, now the country can’t afford to deal with union nonsense and with mass shutdowns of all major infrastructure.
Hometown U. is still up in the air with regard to January. A big case surge has just started locally. A lot could be different in three weeks, though.
I got a mass emailing from the younger kids’ private school today. They’re opening nearly two weeks earlier than Hometown U. They write:
–They don’t know what they’re going to do yet.
–They say that their biggest concern (as with airlines and hospitals) is staffing, and the possibility that a lot of teachers will wind up out.
–They note the CDC’s shortened 5-day isolation period for positives.
–They ask us to continue to report positives to the school email hotline.
–There’s also concern about flu.
School has a lot of connections to the local healthcare community.
I mentioned the email to my 11th grader, and there was some light gloating from him about the potential for simultaneous gaming while “in class” if/when school goes remote.
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