The masks are coming off. States are reopening. Vaccination rates are still rolling. The level of infection is low. Deaths are down. News outlets, like Axios, are nixing their weekly COVID maps because there’s no need. The pandemic is over. The New York Giants recently announced the stadium will not only be operating at full capacity, but there will be no mask requirement, no negative COVID test requirement, or proof of vaccination. Tailgating will also be allowed. It’s key since if one organization is going to do it, they all will. Look how long it took for Yankee Stadium to announce full capacity after the Islanders opened up Nassau Coliseum.
Yet, as we burn our masks, the experts are plotting a new scheme to make us keep wearing them, or at the very least have them handy. Why? Because we could see a resurgence of flu-like viruses (via Boston Globe):Since the state’s mask mandate was lifted at the end of May, face coverings have started to come off — and stay off. But according to infectious diseases doctors, the return of facial freedom might come with some downsides, like a resurgence in cases of the common cold and the flu.
So far this flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported just one influenza-associated pediatric death nationwide, compared with 199 the previous season. And a study published in September in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report revealed a staggering 98 percent decrease in flu activity in the first months of the pandemic.
“Most of us in infectious disease really attributed that to masks — not just masks, but the combination of masks, people working largely from home, social distancing, all of those measures that have been in place for the last year,” said Dr. Joshua Barocas, an infectious diseases physician at Boston Medical Center.
But as vaccination rates increase and such precautions are slowly scrapped, other viruses will start to resurge, starting with colds and other viruses later this summer, and the flu come fall and winter.
On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health advisory about increased cases of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, across parts of the southern United States — something they hadn’t seen since April 2020, when cases “decreased rapidly.” RSV is a cold-like respiratory illness that produces symptoms similar to COVID, and can cause severe illness in older adults and young children.
Since late March — about the time COVID vaccines began to be widely available — cases of RSV have been on the rise in the South. Though the trend hasn’t yet reached the North, where the public was slower to unmask en masse because of lingering restrictions, experts predict that it will.
Well, we have a flu vaccine, so I don’t really care. I had COVID. I beat it. I got vaccinated as well. It was my choice. I’m never getting this virus ever again and I’m done wearing masks. I went grocery shopping without a mask this week. It was great. I went to a baseball game as well. No mask. This pandemic is over. it’s time to start acting like it and the experts can shove it. They weren’t mask fetishists during flu season pre-COVID, so just shut up and let me go about my business. We’re done listening to you, f-ing people. Summer is here and we’re going outside. When flu season comes, do what you usually do—which is to recommend that you get the vaccine; the choice is yours. In the meantime, shut the hell up. COVID is over.
Unlike Matt, I have not been infected to my knowledge, but I have been vaccinated for WuFlu, as well as the regular flu, 57 (it seems like) varieties of pneumonia, and shingles (in fact, both the original vaccine, and the new one). I'm not going back to masks unless a new and significant threat emerges.
The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Cottagecore Is The New Black on time and under budget at The Other McCain.