I must admit that I like having those ‘free’ government COVID antigen tests in my closet 😊.
We used them before we left for Kauai (both negative); my husband took a test when he got home (negative); and I took 2 tests this week because my allergy symptoms were over the top.
Somewhere I read that the new variant, the BA.2 subvariant, has symptoms similar to allergies. I had a runny nose, was sneezing, and had a slight headache for a couple of days. So, I took 2 tests 24 hours apart – both negative!
While this amounted to 5 tests over 2 weeks, it was a relief to be able to check things out from the comfort of my bathroom…..and to not use limited PCR testing resources unnecessarily.
I also like being able to report positive home antigen tests to Washington state simply by calling a toll-free hotline. And we can activate WA Notify if we test positive so other users can be alerted that they may have been exposed to us.
And it looks like the new treatment, Paxlovid, is becoming more widely available for people 65+. All that is needed is a positive test, a prescription from our provider, and sufficient supplies.
So, while cases are going up again, that is still some good news on the COVID front.
Moving on to masks…..
We no longer have a mask mandate. A fair number of people are still masked up in stores around here, but it is probably less than 50%. My husband is one of the few people at the gym still wearing a mask. A number of his fellow gym goers are well over 65 and it seems like it is pretty risky for them to not be masked indoors.
According to AARP, mask wearing is still a very good idea for older people:
All the experts interviewed by AARP agree: Grocery stores, theaters, hair salons and other public indoor venues are safer with a mask. Several studies, including one published by the CDC in February, show that masks help control the spread of the disease. Researchers found that people who wore an N95 in public settings were 83 percent less likely to test positive for COVID-19 than those who wore no mask.Rachel Nania, AARP, March 18, 2022
“All adults, and especially older adults and medically vulnerable people, absolutely have to remain vigilant,” Adults 50 and older account for more than 90 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. and about 70 percent of hospitalizations. Despite recent improvements in both metrics, “This pandemic is still going on, and there’s no reason that there won’t be another surge.”Nicole Iovine, M.D., Infectious disease physician and chief hospital epidemiologist, UF Health, Gainesville, Florida
With that sound advice in mind, we are continuing to be vigilant and mask up in all indoor settings. To our knowledge, we haven’t had COVID yet and we want to keep it that way……if we can!