My mother’s parents spend winters in Hawaii and usually return to the mainland in the spring. That wasn’t really an option for them in 2020, so they’ve been out there since the fall of 2019.
After getting their vaccinations with no side effects, they’ve decided it’s time to head back here. Their flight is in early May, by which time everyone in my family will also have been vaccinated, including my 24-year-old son, as vaccinations in our state are now available to anyone 16 and over.
The flight to Hawaii is long, but has the advantage of crossing timezones in reverse; it’s like gaining time. Coming back, however, and losing all that time is one giant bowl of suck with a side order of bleh. And being in a small enclosed environment with not-so-great circulation for over half a day is hardly a comforting proposition when there’s a deadly virus floating around.
My in-laws will continue to be cautious, and knowing how much family means to them I’m not going to argue with their decision. But I’m going to be anxious when their long journey back begins, and probably won’t fully relax for a couple weeks after they return.
Just when infection, hospitalization, and mortality rates had seemed to be consistently trending down, those numbers all picked up again this past week.
While broad dissemination of vaccines has undoubtedly been helpful, it also seems to have spurned another round of premature relaxation. People are gathering in large crowds again; the disciplines of social distancing and mask wearing have broken down. (I’m deliberately not writing about states that have lifted all restrictions, or the sizable percentage of the population that refuses to vaccinate, because writing on either subject will make me furious.)
To use a term from American football, many of us have spiked the ball before getting into the end zone, while others have decided to leave the field while there’s still time on the clock.
I really do wish I could end this ongoing journal, but COVID-19 remains too large to ignore, even for those who can’t be bothered to pay attention to science.