I have to say, I’m really sick of noting what week of COVID we’re in on these posts. The current transmission rate in our county is something like 20% right now, and that’s mirrored across most of the country.
While so many people are “over it” and pretending like COVID isn’t a thing, we’re still in the thick of it. I’m hopeful that we might see a more variant specific vaccine in the fall (or even better – broad protective of all variants), but for now, COVID infections are something I’d like to continue to avoid.
Yes, vaccines are good at keeping folks out of the hospital still, at least in the acute phase. But I know too many people personally with long term effects from an infection, from pulmonary embolisms to serious cardiac damage to extreme fatigue that persists over months. With these kinds of outcomes, I cannot say that we are “past” the point of me counting time in COVID weeks.
Will we be there before the end of 2022? At this point, I don’t think so, unfortunately. The county – and most of the world – has decided to move on, accepting a level of infection, death, and long term health problems that we would have been horrified by at the beginning of 2020. Now, we just accept them as fact.
The war in Ukraine.
Extreme water shortages and crop failures.
The continued fracturing of our democracy.
The removal of bodily autonomy for half our population.
The continued and increasing attacks on trans and LGBT folks.
The dismantling of the public school system.
If these continuing COVID years have taught us anything, it’s that we as a species are extremely selfish people, and our horror is short, even of the most horrific. The Uvalde shooting was just six weeks ago. The Buffalo shooting just before that. The 4th of July parade shooting just this week. And yet we are somehow meant to move on, accept that that is just how our world is now. The ex Prime Minister of Japan was just assassinated.
Roe v Wade fell just two weeks ago. Already, we’re hearing horror stories of ten year olds having to find healthcare out of state. Of people finding that their prescriptions for chronic illnesses are now being declined because they can raise the risk of miscarriage – even if the person taking it cannot even get pregnant. Women have yet again become second class citizens in the United States. Not that even before then we were really equal.
Lake Powell and Lake Mead, among others, are about to run out of water to the point that they will no longer generate electricity during the middle of an extra hot summer (let alone the fact that we all need water to survive). Italy has declared a state of emergency due to their own rivers drying up. India, Bangladesh are flooding, overheating, people are dying. Australia has seen once in a lifetime flooding four times this year.
Germany turned back on their coal plants.
If 2022 is teaching us anything, it’s that we will continue to allow unspeakable horrors to continue. Unspeakable, because we are shocked and dismayed for a few days, and then expected to go back to work like everything is normal.
Everything is not normal.
I used to be an optimist. Back in 2019, my husband used to joke that my optimism exhausted him.
In 2022, I’m not so hopeful. But don’t let make you believe I’ve given up altogether. While the future sure looks bleak, perhaps, maybe, if we let ourselves feel and understand the horrors, we might do something about them. Not all is lost. Not yet.
So yeah, vote. Vote for lackluster Democrats in the US elections, because at least they’re a bit slower on their descent into Hell. Pulling the e brake on the breakneck pace of the past few years is better than hitting the gas. But we need to do so much more than vote.
And we – anyone who believes in science and human rights and kindness – need to realize that we are all on the same side. That if we’re going to have any chance of hope at all, that we must not sit on the sidelines and watch this country and this world descend into darkness.
Is it alarmist to yell that a fire is burning? (The Redwoods are burning again, by the way)
This country and this world is on fire. Perhaps we could start acting like it.