Let me tell you what happened yesterday. After a quick dinner, I took out the trash. Then I walked a block to catch the #10 bus downtown. About two minutes before the bus was scheduled to arrive, my wife drove her car up to my bus stop. I was puzzled; I didn’t need a ride.
No, she explained. A member of the choir called. The rehearsal was canceled because someone in the group had gotten COVID. That’s at least the third member of the choir who has contracted the disease this calendar year. This is getting kind of old, COVID. At least two choir members got in in 2020 or early 2021, but that was before the vaccines were widely available.
We try so hard!
And why, COVID, in upstate New York and northern New England? Our vaccine rate has been pretty robust. Yet of the 56 counties in the whole country that have high transmission rates, 37 are in MY state, north and/or west of Poughkeepsie.
For example, here’s a notice from the Albany City School District this week. “Due to the significant rise in new COVID-19 cases among City School District of Albany employees and students over the past week, the district is strongly encouraging everyone to wear masks inside all buildings.
“Mask-wearing indoors remains optional in New York. However, the Albany County Health Department issued a public health advisory earlier this week strongly recommending all residents to wear masks in indoor public spaces. The district is aligning with that recommendation during the current COVID-19 surge.”
Now “the district has reported 72 new COVID-19 cases in the past seven days, compared to 47 during the first 20 days of April and 48 through the entire month of March. The 72 cases in the district from April 21-27 are more than the district has experienced in 16 entire months since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.”
As I’ve noted, in 2020, my primary care physician said sternly, “Don’t get COVID!” I took the advice seriously. You know I was one of those people clamoring for the vaccine when it was still difficult to access. I got my two shots in March 2021. Then my first booster in September 2021 and my second in April 2022.
I never stopped wearing masks going to the CVS or the grocery store. The first time I ate out, in April 2021, the establishment had a rule. Masks can be off if you’re sitting, but if you’re standing or walking, your masks should be on. The Capital District Transportation Authority still requires masks on their buses. But the bus drivers, I’ve noted, are far less likely to enforce the requirement. And I get that.
It was exhausting for flight attendants, restaurant greeters, and mall cops to have to act as the mask police. I witnessed more than a few uncomfortable exchanges.
So far, no one in my household has contracted the disease. SO THERE, COVID. My wife and my daughter tested themselves before returning to school after spring break. I’ve been checking myself twice a week before choir rehearsal and church. Good thing I stocked up with those free test kits – well, free if you have insurance, at least.
Still, I’m feeling that it could still happen. COVID, you are a tricky SOB. But I won’t surrender easily.