I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to get sick. So I still always wear an N95 mask when I am indoors in a public place. I am unaware of any reaction. Nobody says anything about it (this is England after all). But I am typically alone in this. Once in a while I will encounter another mask wearer.
Except in the doctor’s or dentist’s office, of course. There everybody wears masks. Masks are still required accoutrements there. Could medical professionals be trying to tell us something?
Maybe they are trying to warn us that Coronavirus is still abroad throughout the land. (I can almost hear the beating of his wings.) It turns out that people are still getting COVID and they’re still getting very sick. Some are dying. We’ve just gotten used to it, is all.
And now in the last few weeks a new variation has emerged. On Tuesday, Greece confirmed the first case of omicron BA.2.7 ‘Centaurus’ variant in the country, newly imported from India and other places. It could become dominant there by the end of the month when more than half of the cases will be Centaurus cases.
As with other Omicron subvariants, the BA.2.75 is more infectious and better at evading the human immune system than earlier variants of concern, which means that vaccines will prove less efficacious against it. That could spell long range problems for Americans and the rest of the world. The human race is still in the unenviable position of having a serious and occasionally deadly pathogen in the world that we constantly have to stay ahead of.
The good news is COVID is no longer quite the hot button political topic it once was. Incautious behaviors now cross party lines. Republicans are no longer virtue-signalling quite as much about how allegedly “brave” they are for not wearing masks. Everyone has, so to speak, gone back into the water again without thinking about sharks. This means that resistance to an increase in precautions might prove less political this time.
Perhaps, therefore, it’s time to make mask wearing, scrupulous hand washing and social distancing a thing every bit as endemic as the virus. I can speak from personal experience when I tell you that it’s easy and it is not all that inconvenient. I’ve just learned to always do it, so it’s become a habit and, so far, so good.
I would therefore encourage you all, brothers and sisters, to mask up again. We have a major election coming up, and for those voting in person, it’s a good time to haul out the old practices of 2020 and 2021. The midterms could turn out to be superspreaders, and we have enough to worry about these days without also getting sick.
We also all want to be healthy in the run up to the midterms, so there will be no impediments to voting when they come. Right now your vote in this election could be the last bulwark against tyranny. So be healthy and be sure to vote. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.