Sunday Curmudgeonly The New New Normal

Respect is getting harder to summon.

I spoke with a good friend this week who said that if she had her druthers, she would hardly ever leave her house now. She doesn’t leave it often; and then, very carefully distanced, and always masked. I have other friends, all who are sane, rational people (well, mostly), who are going out regularly, eating inside restaurants, shopping, going to the gym, etc.

Both groups are vaccinated, both say they follow the science, both are well-read and well-informed.

As Delta and Mu make their way through our state, hospitalizations are increasing. Once infected, both variants move fast to ravage the body. In Central Massachusetts, our hospital capacity is further burdened by a long-running nurses strike at St. Vincent’s Hospital that has crushed UMass Memorial Medical Center’s ability to respond to medical emergencies. Its ICU system is at full capacity. The rapacious hospital system (Tenet Healthcare, the owner of St. Vincent’s) could have settled this at several points, but it continues to disrespect the nurses by their refusal to bargain in good faith, further endangering the population of Worcester and surrounding towns. Can you tell I come from a long line of union-organizers and labor supporters?

But I digress. Now, back to my mostly home-bound friend and the others. People now are making decisions about capacity for risk with better information than we had 18 months ago. Sane, rational (i.e. - vaxxed) folks now think about their personal health risk factors, don’t hesitate to wear a mask when the situation requires it, and consider the risks of others as they move through their daily activities.

Personally, I’m with my stay-in-the-house friend. It’s not a decision based in fear as some of my family members have disparaged. It’s a calculation based on the not-so-great vaccination rate in my community, my personal health factors, combined with my Long Covid issues.

All decisions based on good science, carefully though out and weighed are legitimate. We need to be respectful of these decisions and the persons making them. We must continue to reach out in whatever way we can to hold all in the spirit of community.

And, if for some reason, you are reading this and are not vaccinated, please do it for your family and loved ones, if not for yourself.

Leave a comment