COVID Hopes for 2022

As I write this, this is the front page headline:

State hits daily COVID-19 record (6,140), while residents scramble for tests

Seattle Times, December 29, 2021

What a way to greet 2022!

But before moving on to 2022, I want to pause and be grateful for:

  • Free, safe, and effective vaccines are now widely available
  • Vaccines are approved for children 5 and older
  • Over 70% of our adult population is fully vaccinated
  • Two pills to treat COVID 19 have been newly approved by the FDA
  • I live in Washington state where mask wearing indoors is required and there are a variety of vaccine mandates
  • I play in King County that has a vaccine requirement for indoor dining
  • My family is fully vaccinated
  • My husband and I continue to be COVID free
  • Dr. Fauci hanging in there at age 81!

Now to my 4 main areas of COVID-related irritation as 2021 draws to a close:

  • Rapid tests are tough to find (c’mon, we’ve been at this for a long time)
  • People won’t mask up – I consider masks a very MINOR irritation for safety’s sake
  • If people are wearing masks, many aren’t COVERING THEIR NOSE (my pet peeve)
  • Vaccine continue to be a political hot potato

Looking ahead to COVID in 2022, I hope:

  • Omicron is the last hurrah and, if not, we can figure out a way to manage COVID as an endemic virus like we do the flu
  • Fully vaccinated is redefined as 2 doses and a booster
  • More restaurants, etc. require proof of vaccination for indoor activities.  This has been the deal in B.C. since August.  It seems to be working just fine
  • Somehow, we figure out the magic needed to get more people to put their politics and fear aside and get vaccinated, along with their children  
  • Rapid tests are widely available and affordable
  • People stop making a big deal out of wearing masks and COVER THEIR NOSE in the process
  • We are able to safely travel to Italy in May

These are pretty big HOPES on my part.  I will be curious to look back in December 2022 and see which ones, if any, bear fruit.

Hope – Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope!

Barak Obama, 44th U.S. President

Note: I decided to include our snow photos on this post instead of a yet another picture of the novel coronavirus 😊

Allene

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I came across the absolutely best article in a recent Seattle Times.  I know many of you can’t open the link, so I will do a quick summary.

A local woman, Fran Goldman, age 90, walked six miles through the snow this past weekend to get her first dose of COVID 19 vaccine.

She had been trying everything to get an appointment for vaccine.  When she was finally successful, she didn’t let a foot of snow deter her. 

Her appointment was for Sunday morning at 9:10. On Saturday, she woke up to our first snowfall and decided to plan ahead.  She got dressed and headed out for a dry run. 

She had a hip replacement last year, so used her walking sticks to make the trek.  She still drives, but apparently decided not to risk it in the snow.

She made it 2/3 of the way to the hospital and turned around knowing she had this one licked.

On the day of her appointment, she wore a short-sleeved shirt so the nurse could get to her arm and layered from there.  It was a challenging hike since more snow had fallen but she arrived at 9:15, only 5 minutes late.

Not only does Fran still drive, she is taking a Lifelong Learning Class about post World War II China on Zoom, orders food online and picks it up in her car.

The article had some great quotes from Fran’s daughter:

My mother isn’t going to let a little snow stop her from getting the vaccine.  She has the attitude that you don’t let a little adversity get in your way.

She is someone who looks for solutions, not problems.

Ruth Goldman

I love stories like these! 

As my first friend and I were talking about the article, she said, ‘that will be you and me!’ I’ve been worried about accelerated ‘aging in place’ during the pandemic, so I sincerely hope she is right and we both have a healthy dose of ‘Fran Goldman’ in us!

See you on Friday,

Allene

If you see something, say something

Do any of you remember that line from 9/11? 

I was zooming with my friend, JLQ, on Wednesday morning.  While we were zooming, she said she just saw that a mob was storming the Capitol!

Wednesday’s events brought 9/11 to mind as a reminder of the last very dark day in U.S. history.  Looking back, we were all at least united as Americans.  Not so much on Wednesday!

I happen to love D.C.  I have been there for work a number of times.  I’m a lifelong government worker.  Maybe that is why the sight of the Capitol can kind of choke me up. I have wanted to return to DC since I retired but haven’t had the opportunity.

That brings me back to Wednesday’s chaos when the mob stormed the Capitol and broke in. 

I usually don’t go down this path on my blog, but I saw some things on Wednesday so I am saying some things today! 

Boy was the insurrection (quoting George W. Bush) ever hard to watch! It made me feel like I woke up in another country.  Who could have expected something like this in the U.S.?  And I am saddened by the leaders that brought our country to this moment. 

Heiko Mass, the German foreign minister, drew a parallel between the storming of the Capitol and the recent attempt by a mob of far-right German protesters to enter the Riechstag (the building that houses Germany’s Parliament.

Inflammatory words will lead to acts of violence – on the steps of the Reichstag and now in the Capitol

Heiko Mass (on Twitter)

There is going to be a lot of hindsight on this one, including starting why wasn’t there more security in the first place! There are certainly are going to be lots of tough questions to answer and undoubtedly there will be plenty of blame to go around.

It is hard to even glimpse a path forward.  I would like to think things will settle down after the inauguration, but I think that might be a fantasy on my part.

I believe President-elect Biden will do his level best to govern the entire nation, not just his party.  But his best is probably not going to be good enough for people who don’t trust the results of the 2020 election.  According to this NPR piece, more than 60% of Americans trust the results, but only one quarter of Republicans do.

That, my friends, is kind of scary! But hopefully cooler heads will eventually prevail and we will remember we are ‘one nation’.

See you on Monday,

Allene

It’s Christmas Time in the City

‘City sidewalks, busy sidewalks dressed in holiday style’

Silver Bells, composed by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans in 1950

This does not describe Christmas 2020 in downtown Seattle. The sidewalks aren’t busy and there isn’t much holiday style to be seen.

We took a trip downtown a week before Christmas.  Downtown Seattle is usually a sight to behold over the holidays.  The streets are bustling and decorations are everywhere.  The hotels are busy, as are the restaurants.  Downtown is a popular destination for locals and out of towners alike.

It is pretty quiet this year.  There were maybe 4 or so people on each block.  Many of the stores have closed permanently.  There is no indoor dining so the restaurants are dark.  And the hotels look pretty quiet.  The Pike Place Market had about 40% of their usual vendors and there were NO crowds on what should have been one of their busiest shopping days.

According to the Downtown Seattle Association, this ‘horrible year’ has killed off 155 businesses in the downtown core alone – 82 restaurants, 48 retail storefronts and 25 other businesses have closed permanently. This doesn’t count the plywood planked shops that are hunkered down for the duration (from a Danny Westneat article in the Seattle Times).

Predictions are that it may get worse. 

My prediction is that there is no ticket back to 2019. Who knows what will emerge in the post pandemic times?  I don’t see a back to the future scenario. 

A lot of the activity in downtown Seattle is driven by workers based there.  They grab lunch in the restaurants, shop at the stores and go out for happy hour after work. There is a lot of real estate downtown occupied by businesses and their employees. Amazon and others have implemented work from home policies on a more or less permanent basis. I think most businesses have and are going to continue to shrink their footprints for the foreseeable future. 

Without workers thronging the streets, downtown is going to have a tough time recovering.  Downtown has reinvented itself a number of times and I am sure it will again.  I will be curious to see what 2021 will bring to downtown Seattle and what future Christmases will be like in the city.

See you on Friday,

Allene

BTW, Dege went skiing on her birthday….as predicted!