“While 2020 will forever be known as the year of COVID, 2021 will hopefully be known as the year we finally managed to get rid of it, or at least kept it at bay.” – I wrote that in my first editorial of 2021, exactly one year ago today, along with a prediction that mass vaccinations would begin by the end of June. I was right on the latter and very nearly right on the former until Omicron ruined it all.
As I look forward to the year ahead, my feelings fluctuate between optimism and pessimism depending on the last headline I read. I am optimistic that Omicron is just the latest hurdle to overcome on the rocky road to normalcy, but I am pessimistic that there maybe several more hurdles to come.
I am optimistic that science will be able to help us further understand the coronavirus and develop more effective ways to both fight it and treat it, but I am pessimistic about our government’s ability to lead us back to a state of normalcy. I am pessimistic about their ability to plan for the next wave, let alone the next pandemic. And I am pessimistic about the future state of our economy if the government continues to screw things up.
On a positive note, I am optimistic that things will get better because they can’t possibly get any worse. Of course, I said the same thing last year and things eventually did get a lot better, until a few weeks ago. How long this current period will last remains to be seen, but reports that the Omicron virus is not nearly as severe as the previous variants gives me reason for further optimism that the current wave will be relatively short-lived and by this spring we will get back to where we were just a month ago.
Personally, I plan to continue to live my life as normally as possible. I am scheduled to get my booster shot on the same day this editorial is being published. I do not fear catching the virus. In fact, I went through it during those early days. I was sick for two weeks, including eight days when I was completely incapacitated and lost 25 pounds.
If the scientists are right, the most I can expect from the Omicron variant are flu-like symptoms, and in most cases it’s like catching the common cold. Catching the Omicron virus also improves your immunity against subsequent variants several times over, especially if you’ve already been vaccinated.
The scientists are also optimistic that the Omicron variant will prove to be the dominant variant and that the COVID virus will become less severe over time.
By now it is clear that the COVID virus is not going away any time soon, if ever, but the early reports that the variants are becoming less severe should make us all feel optimistic about the future, the government’s lack of preparedness and general mismanagement of the pandemic aside.