COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, is not gone. People around the globe are still getting sick, having long term issues from "long COVID", and dying.
However, after 110 weeks of blogging, the news cycle has moved on.
Over 11 billion vaccines and boosters have been given. The global distribution is not fair or equitable.
Vaccination, masking and empathy are polarising, political, issues. The scars will be felt for decades.
So here we are. Over 6 million deaths, multiple waves of disease. Lockdown, disruption, anger, fear.
I predict these events:
- annual combined "flu and Covid" shot by late 2022
- continued politicisation of vaccination, especially in the US
- continued cases across the globe
- emergence of new variants, several of which will break out
- a winter 2022/2023 wave, with no restrictions or mask mandates
On the positive side:
- Covid vaccine development and technology innovation will lead to breakthrough prevention and treatment regimes for multiple diseases
- an approved vaccine for under 5s
- safe, cheap and effective vaccination supply chains across the globe.
Signing off for the final time on this subject.
I honestly forgot to write two weeks of updates. Locally we attended the Seattle International Film Festival, in-person, masked. I received a notification of brief exposure at the Sunday closing event. New cases are still working through the under fives, their teachers, their carers and families.
Globally the number of cases is down 25% week on week.
The Seattle Times dashboard is now gone. Replaced with a trends graphic.
This time 2021 – "concerns about the one variant that breaks out" was a warning around Omicron, six months early.
This time 2020 – drinking disinfectant became a thing, a precursor to all of the other quack remedies. Negative oil prices. Fake anti-lockdown protests.
Weekly summaries from here on out. I’ll share the news links, and comment on anything unusual or newsworthy.
Multiple new variants are spreading quickly. XE, BA.2.12, BA.2.12.2 and others. Widespread numbers of cases still breaking through. Fines issued in UK "Partygate". War, war crimes, and sanctions move the pandemic way beneath the fold. Testing sites, free tests and contact tracing is a fraction of what it was a year ago.
This time 2021 – pandemic fatigue. Weariness of lockdown, masks, regulations. Cases surging across Europe and the US as a result.
This time 2020 – we decided not to attend a Sounders soccer game, which in retrospect was a good move. Kids are in the routine of "school from home".
Weekend – the BA.2 strain is dominant. Locally there are a lot of cases close to home. The Washington State cases have picked up.
Friday – Federal mandate for vaccination is upheld. Masks, vaccination and everything related are starkly political.
Thursday – two years after the panic about PPE, tests and government support for business, the fraud cases are starting to come to court. So much grift, malpractice and just straight theft.
Wednesday – Covid cases soaring in the UK. NHS pressure. Second booster done. Yay.
Tuesday – much concern about Omicron/BA.2 spread in China. Shanghai on lockdown.
Monday – fourth shot/second booster booked for mid-week.
This time 2021 – Washington State picking up new cases. UK emerging from a major wave and lifting restrictions.
This time 2020 – UK NHS at near breaking point. Boris Johnson with Covid. Visible changes: no planes in the sky. Less roadnoise.
Weekend – locally, cases are low, hospitalisations are low, and the general population seems to think the pandemic is over. Anecdotally – Covid is still taking kids out of school.
Friday – as war continues to dominate the news cycles, the continued Omicron surge in South Korea, Hong Kong SAR and PRC is generally unreported. The growing number of cases in the UK and now the US is not getting any attention. Meanwhile the number of hospitalised in the US is at a pandemic low.
Thursday – UK stopping free tests, now similar to US in tests being sold in retail stores.
Wednesday – How to Survive a Pandemic looks to be the latest in documentaries giving narrative of the pandemic.
Tuesday – FDA approves second boosters for 50+. UK Partygate fines issued.
Monday – Shanghai, PRC in lockdown.
This time 2021 – the start of a new wave, Covid spreading faster than vaccination.
This time 2020 – blood draw to see if I had early Covid in January (I did not), lockdowns being relaxed in the US.
Weekend – positive cases are down dramatically since the start of the year. Unclear how many tests are actually being run now. UK cases keep trending up; disastrous timing of all protections being lifted, along with a surge of BA.2. It’s a balancing act to what happens next in the US.
Friday – much discussion about vaccination rates, boosters, a fourth shot – and the timing of any fourth shot. Does this become an annual combination ‘flu and covid’ shot. I mentioned this two years ago.
Thursday – BA.2 keeps popping up as the next variant of concern. The "dance" of the Hammer and The Dance.
Wednesday – US airlines ask for mask mandates in airports and on planes to be lifted.
Tuesday – no funding in the budget for more COVID testing and boosters/vaccinations. BA.2 variant is now 25% of cases in Washington state.
Monday – New covid wave in the UK. Big jumps in positive cases. That peak is as bad as the end of 2021.
This time 2021 – another wave. Spring break, no masks, variants.
This time 2020 – Fauci predicts 100-200k deaths in the US. (it’s now 1M), military field hospitals being built in Seattle, 3.3M file unemployment.