TWL: our world of sadness

It took 30 weeks back in 2020 for the US to reach a total of 5 million confirmed COVID cases. In the last seven days, we had more than 5 million new cases. Simple math, the virus is spreading 30 times faster than it was midsummer of 2020.

Though we’re told the current predominant strain of COVID-19 is “milder” and “more contagious” than their older cousins, with so many cases, the next month will bring heartache because more people we love are going to die, while our children sit in schools (the most densely packed human spaces in the world) without teachers (because they’re all out sick), and college kids share breath at football games (beyond my comprehension, and I love football), and diehards still scoff at masks (which is so 2020), and spread and spread and spread, and basically give up the fight.

5 million cases in one week

There have been over 9 million cases in the US so far in 2022. As noted last week, at this rate we’ll beat 2021 by mid-February.

I’m sorry to always deliver such sickening numbers. I’m sure I ruin your Tuesday every week. By only checking the data on Tuesdays, I can let myself think about other stuff all week, like how much avocado to put in my salad, whether to make jelly doughnuts now or wait ’til Fat Tuesday, and how to pass off cauliflower rice as real rice to my best friend. (The secret to getting him to eat anything is to sprinkle on some garlic and parmesan cheese.) I promise, I don’t just think about food. I also think about how to play Coldplay’s Clocks on the piano. I think I’ll have to memorize it in order to play it fast enough. It has a bunch of flats (those are the black keys) and they take up a lot of my brain space. I’m also crocheting things: I made a scarf because I’m always freezing, and I’m going to fix an old purse by making a new outer cover for no reason except to make something and sit under a blanket in the quiet while I do so. I’m also sleeping like a hibernating bear every night. I love cold nights. I’m also back to teaching in person. I try not to think about that too much. And while I’m teaching, I get to focus on tiny things like atoms and molecules instead of giant tidal waves like pandemics. I do get tested every week and wear a KN95 or N95 mask. And my students are very brave.

Like many of you, this pandemic is wearing me down to a crumpled nub of myself. I remember me. I hope to get her back. But she’s fading into the third person, crushed by this world full of sadness.

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