Last weekend, as my family and I returned to dock after a brief kayak ride on a cloudy day at the Jersey Shore, we were approached by TV news cameras. They wanted to interview us about our decision to come to the beach despite less than perfect weather – a hurricane, not near enough to the area to be locally significant, was on the horizon – and we obliged.
The interview with my husband and 12-year-old son was labeled “BIG STORY.”
On that same day, New Jersey reached 2,500 new confirmed daily COVID cases and almost 1000 hospitalized. And we were faring far better than many states in the nation. If you have a heart attack in Florida, you’re SOL on even getting an ambulance.
There was also the catastrophic finale of a pointless 20-year war in Afghanistan, and yet another devastating earthquake in Haiti. But, as usual, the local news leads with a feel-good story about a family on a kayak.
I’m not afraid to criticize my people, the Democrats, who may not be pouring gasoline on this raging dumpster fire of death, but still manage to do the least. Biden’s “Let’s get vaccinated, folk!” is not cutting it. ICUs are, once again, running out of beds, pediatric hospitals are filling up, school boards are arguing over masks, and everyone is going ahead with weddings and conventions and my personal favorite CASINOS as if nothing is out of the ordinary.
Few relished those magnificent four weeks of apparent freedom more than I, the crisp feeling of restaurant air conditioning as my colleagues and I ordered another round of mimosas. It was bliss. But now it has to end, again, for now. Because thousands of people are dying preventable deaths each day. And, as usual, America is unprepared and unwilling to give a fuck.
Perhaps we should bring back a nationwide mask mandate that at least most of us will follow. Maybe we could have used these 18 months to prepare more robust school safety plans. Maybe we should roll out those boosters immediately based on the clear breakthrough data we are seeing as immunity wanes. Maybe SOMETHING OH MY GOD ANYTHING.
All I know is that my antibodies waned to an abysmal number after five months, likely due to my primary immunodeficiency, and I have no idea if my booster will do a god damn thing. But those monoclonal antibodies meant for immunocompromised folks like me will likely be plum out of stock by the time I test positive as Gov. Deathsantis leads by stock portfolio and has the deathly ill unvaccinated pile up outside a library trying to mainline the stuff.
And the breakthrough cases are no longer just “something I read on Twitter.” I now know healthy young FRIENDS who got sicker with Delta while vaccinated than my friends who had the original COVID back in the day. Like writing their will sick. And that doesn’t mean the vaccines don’t work – it just means that without them they certainly would have died.
So I’m back to the psychologically horrific work of monitoring the comings and goings of everyone I love and weighing the risks of letting my kids play outside with the neighbors. Sending my too-young-to-be-vaccinated child to school to eat lunch “three feet apart” like that fucking matters with an airborne virus, because virtual is no longer offered, and even if it was, it’s an unfair and unsustainable option for most children.
But, you know, my doctor just tells me to find a better therapist. So I’m finding a better doctor. And going back on clonopin.