The former boxer turned philosopher Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get a hole in their mouth.” You may have made some big plans for this fall like the massive human and marmot rave that you have been postponing for over a year and for some reason thought the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic is practically over. Well, mouth meets balls, pointed virus balls, that is. To many of the fall plans you may have made, the Delta variant of the Covid-19 coronavirus essentially says, “oh, no, you did not.”
If you have not heard the news because you have wrapped the extra toilet paper you have around your head and ears, the more contagious Delta variant of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has spread throughout the United States The number of new Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations has been rising sharply over the past month. This came after a lot of premature easing of Covid-19 precautions that spring. The premature easing of social distance and the use of face masks led many people in the United States to prematurely believe that the pandemic was somehow over and made premature plans for the fall.
And now premature relaxation has led to disappointment and clutter, as many premature releases can do. It has also led to a whole set of memes representing what the Delta variant has done by Fall plans. For example, it looks like Grammy Award-winning singer Mariah Carey found out that her original fall plans, so to speak, “disappeared”:
Here is a piece from author Meena Harris:
And take a look at this from an account that seems to share pictures from the TV series Twin Peaks:
How about this one from a Twitter account that describes itself as “Men Who Love and Support Nathan Fielder”:
The Delta variant has brought even more uncertainty to an uncertain situation. Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis could not quite decide what her fall plans will look like now:
But not everyone is changing their fall plans yet:
All of this should actually not be the big surprise. Although no real public health experts had declared the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic over, in the spring, people started dropping face masks as if they were dirty underwear. Social distancing disappeared as the song “Somebody That I Used to Know.” And people started making plans for the fall. Many plans.
But making plans for the fall was a bit like ordering a manicure appointment while your house is on fire. As long as SARS-CoV-2 is still actively spreading widely and vaccination levels are well below herd thresholds, the immediate future will be unpredictable. How many times over the course of horror movies have people said, “ok, let’s have sex now” before they really made sure the killer was really overcome?
On the flip side, this pandemic will not last forever. Take a look at what happened to the influenza pandemic in 1918. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, this flu pandemic began with an initial “herald” wave in the spring of 1918. Thereafter, influenza activity declined for some time. time during the summer of 1918. Next, the largest increase took place in the fall of 1918 to the winter of 1918-1919. Viral activity declined again in the summer of 1919, before increasing again in the autumn of 1919 through the winter of 1919-1920, before the pandemic finally ended in 1920, about three years after it started.
The H3N2 influenza virus pandemic in 1968 started a little later in the year in July 1968. Thus, there was not an initial “herald” wave in the spring. However, this pandemic also crossed three calendar years from 1968 to 1970.
Therefore, it would not be surprising for the current Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic to follow a similar pattern in the United States, continuing from 2020 to 2022 and finally petering out in the spring of 2022. SARS-CoV-2 will continue to spread until herd immunity levels pass the thresholds necessary to prevent proliferation. Think of people as parking spaces for the virus with the virus running wild while trying to avoid peeing in your pants. As long as there are enough empty parking spaces, that is, bodies to infect, the virus can stay on and go around. However, immunity either through vaccination or recovery from Covid-19 can block these parking spaces. If the virus cannot find open parking spaces for the limited time that it can survive outside someone’s body, the virus runs out of opportunities.
Can’t wait until 2022? Then convince more of the people around you to be fully vaccinated. It really is the only way to shorten the natural course of the pandemic. Waiting for enough people to get protection against natural immunity after infection will take a while and along the way cause lots of suffering and require many more lives.
So far, it appears that the currently available Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines will still offer reasonable protection against the Delta variant. The vaccines are certainly not perfect. Therefore, relying solely on the vaccine for protection can be like going outside without wearing anything but your underwear.
The one major variable is the emergence of new varieties. Eventually, a variant may emerge that may consistently get past the protection the vaccine offers. As long as the virus continues to spread, new variants will continue to emerge. In fact, every time the virus multiplies, it can make mistakes, just like a drunk person trying to photocopy his or her butt. These errors in replicating the virus’ genetic code lead to mutations that result in new versions of the virus, otherwise known as variants. That is why it is so important to slow down the spread of the virus right now using other means along with vaccination such as face masks and social distancing. You want to minimize the chances that the virus can reproduce and thus produce more variants.
So what are you going to do about fall and winter plans right now? Follow these principles:
- Expect to need to maintain Covid-19 precautions such as wearing face masks and social distances: The pandemic is not over. Repeat, the pandemic is not over.
- Expect and prepare for stricter vaccination requirements. The “let people do whatever beep they want to do” approach has not exactly worked. It has shown that enough people will lie, cheat and frankly not give a look at other people to keep everyone in danger. This makes it more difficult for companies and other organizations not to enforce vaccination requirements. Otherwise, they may be at high risk for a Covid-19 outbreak.
- Take things in stride and try not focus too much on the problem. If you can follow the Kardashians, you can follow what is happening with the pandemic. Customize your daily plans based on what you learn. However, make sure your sources are credible. If your sources begin with “and then my keys got stuck in the forehead after the Covid-19 vaccine”, consider other sources instead.
- Avoid making fixed plans: This is not the time to say, “we have to get married on November 1, National Calzone Day, otherwise it never happens.”
- Choose flexible reservations and tickets: Treat non-refundable deposits like the one you put in the toilet after a prune and bean enchilada. You may never see them again if virus activity gets out of control.
- Delay travel and other plans if possible until the warmer months of 2022: Climate change could turn the earth into a giant Hot Pocket. But it will not happen in a year.
- Look for safer alternatives: Travel by car, bicycle or foot instead of flying. Stay outdoors as much as you can.
- Shed specific expectations: To cope and even thrive during this pandemic means setting aside what you could have done or should have done. Alison Escalante, MD, who writes for Forbes and Psychology today, has warned against suffering Should Storm, who cares too much about what you “should” do largely based on the expectations of others. This can also happen during the pandemic, where you may feel FOMO, a “fear of missing out” or FONCUIL, a “fear of not catching up with life” or FONDUE, a “fear of not making the usual expectations” no matter what “Usual” actually means. It can be bad to feel fondue, especially when others do not want your hands in what they are eating. All of this can lead you to premature relaxation.
- Be adaptable: Adversity can often create opportunity. For example, Zoom can help you get to know others in a way that shouting in a restaurant does not want. You may find yourself engaging in conversations that you never thought you would have about tiaras, Hello Kitty, unitards, hot dogs, and exponentialism, not exactly in that order. Understand that life can change for a penny or even a little bit of dogecoin.
- Focus on what you can do now, given the circumstances: You can not change the past without a time machine or a lot of marijuana. Nor can you predict the future. Instead, focus on the here and now.
In some ways, the pandemic is a reminder that we all have much less control over our own lives than we imagine. You never know what might happen next month, next week, or next day. In fact, it may not even be clear what will happen in the next hour, although there is a high probability that avocado will be involved. You can get started on your regular day-to-day business when something happens that blows you or your plans away. For example, you might think you have this, what is dinner, and what is dessert, found out when someone sends you a picture of a hot dog pie, like this one:
Not a hot dog and an apple pie. Not a hot person next to a pie and a dog. But a hot dog in a pie crust. And suddenly you and your world are no longer the same again.