'Roll on the omicron variant so we can get it over and done with': Really?

What have we come to, that we are almost OK with the notion of getting the variant? It's been a strange old time, these past two years
'Roll on the omicron variant so we can get it over and done with': Really?

“ Some of us who are on the introvert spectrum have realised that with enough books to get lost in and films to view, we function quite well without people,” so says Colette Sheridan. Picture: Stock

TRYING to have a couple of family members around for dinner during Christmas was a bit of a palaver for me.

Because I had been in the company of someone who tested positive for Covid, dinner was off - initially.

The uncooked chicken in the fridge was testimony to a fairly isolated Christmas, at least in the aftermath of the big day.

Then my close contact gave me the suspected trajectory of the virus afflicting her and it turned out that she hadn’t had Covid when I was getting a lift from her for a journey that took about 40 minutes. So dinner was on again. And briefly off again during a nervy moment when I thought I should quit trying to have a social life altogether. It just seems too risky with one in two people testing for Covid turning out to be positive.

Finally, I roasted the chicken and as we sat around the table, one guest expressed the desire to get omicron and be over and done with it, in the hope of building up antibodies.

What have we come to, that we are almost OK with the notion of getting the variant? It’s been a strange old time, these past two years.

But we are nothing if not resilient. However, that word is over-used in relation to young people in their teens and early twenties. Life has taken a terrible turn for them. They should be enjoying what used to be carefree years, combining studying with a lively social life, working part-time at jobs for pocket money.

If you are of a certain age, try and remember what it was like to be 19 or 20 years of age. The world seemed full of possibility. Being unwell was caused by nothing more than too much booze on a fun night out. Making friends was part of the college experience.

Now, a young one can’t even go on a date without worrying about the virus. It has come to this. The pandemic is your ultimate spoil sport, stopping us in our tracks, making us neurotic about the very air we’re breathing.

A friend, whom I half jokingly refer to as a catastrophist, must feel somewhat vindicated though. When she first read about Covid before it was even part of our consciousness in this country, she predicted a worldwide pandemic. She has been tracking viruses for years. I used to think this was nuts. But clearly, what my friend feared has come to pass and she is not as bonkers as I thought.

This armchair virologist regularly rings me (we don’t really meet in person anymore) to tell me how many pedestrians in her area are wearing masks and what she said to the supermarket staff member who wasn’t wearing a face-covering while working on the till, serving her.

There have been occasions when she has abandoned her shopping and walked out, in disgust. After bruising encounters like these, the catastrophist understandably threatens to ‘go on Joe Duffy.’ (You have been warned!)

But it’s possible to survive Covid without being obsessed with it and consumed with dread. Granted, given the amount of media coverage of the pandemic, it’s hard to avoid it and vigilance is key.

But it’s important to keep in touch with friends and family. Some of us who are on the introvert spectrum have realised that with enough books to get lost in and films to view, we function quite well without people. But deep down, we crave connection. None of us are islands. It isn’t good to be all alone, all the time.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to have small kids while the pandemic is raging. How can you try and convey to them that there’s this invisible germ-like thing floating around and you need to cover your mouth and nose.

How do deaf people manage, unable to lip read because the people they’re trying to communicate with are wearing face masks?

And then there are the folk that refuse to be vaccinated. I know one such person and I’m kind of surprised at her stance. Her reasoning is that the vaccines haven’t been tested for long enough. But did she research the rubella vaccination before allowing her kids to have their health protected?

When I read that Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary believes unvaccinated people shouldn’t be allowed into hospitals and pharmacies, I kind of agreed with him. Maybe that’s a bit fascist? But sometimes, desperate measures are needed in desperate times.

The big pharma conspiracy theory is lunatic fringe stuff.

O’Leary pointed out that if you tell someone under thirty that they can’t go into a pub without being vaccinated, “they’d get vaccinated pretty damn quickly.” Too true. The allure of the pub is strong. And who’d blame anyone for going for a ‘medicinal’ snifter?

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