I tested positive for COVID last week and have been isolating at home. Thanks to the protection of the vaccine and booster, my symptoms have been very mild, and I expect to be back in the office soon. In the meantime, I have benefited from the care of my family, who leave meal trays at the bedroom door, join me for dinner via Facetime, and otherwise offer cheerful, physically-distant support.
Unfortunately, while it’s easy to be lighthearted about my own no-big-deal personal circumstances, the same cannot be said for our city and country. Omicron is tearing through whole communities like wildfire, with caseloads here and elsewhere that are several times higher than the prior peak of the pandemic. Those protected by vaccines and boosters are likely to be fine, but many others will land in the hospital or worse, and even if those needing medical care amount to only a tiny fraction of the overall population, the stress on our already overburdened health systems will be immense.
The silver lining to our dark winter is that this feels like it could finally be the virus’s end game. Omicron is so widespread and contagious that it may simply burn itself out by infecting every available host. This is not anyone’s idea of a positive way to conclude our two-year ordeal, especially considering the staggering and still escalating loss of life, but there is reason to hope that the worst will be over in a few weeks, and that spring will be much better.
In the meantime, New Rochelle will continue to advocate for increased regional testing capacity, distribute whatever testing supplies become available, urge those eligible to get vaccinated and boosted, and encourage all of us to stay safe.