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 – The Seattle Times weekly graph – rapidly declining cases, hospitalisations and death rates. Much discussion of a "second booster" or "fourth shot".
Hong Kong death rates are insane. This from The Economist.
Friday – Covid in over 70s in UK at record high. After two years, this is the pandemic that everyone is now forgetting.
Thursday – good listen from The Guardian on the coming wave of Covid.
Wednesday – Canada to drop testing requirement for visitors from the US from April 1.
Tuesday – BA.2 is starting to make news. ~100M people in PRC under lockdown or restrictions. Fourth dose (second booster?) will be needed, Pfizer CEO says an annual shot will be needed. I refer back to my comments from 2020. CDC Wastewater Surveillance System shows 1000% jump in Covid DNA in Seattle wastewater.
Monday – "UK should brace for rising cases", meanwhile all travel restrictions dropped in the UK. BA.2 Omicron variant starting to run fast. PRC locks down Jilin province. Concerns that Sinovac isn’t as effective against omicron and variant. Dropped The Guardian from the daily summaries – but no doubt another raging covid wave will force its return.
This time 2021 – another wave passes across Europe, Washington State following closely. 100M vaccinations in 58 days.
This time 2020 – the start of panic buying amidst FUD and calls for rationing.