COVID risk assessment

I hesitated posting this at all, because I am profoundly uninterested in hearing guesses framed as facts from all of the armchair epidemiologists out there, and this is catnip for them... But here's how I've been seeing things these last few months. Maybe you have too.

My goal is to not catch COVID at all. CDC tells me that my goal should instead be just "don't fill the hospitals past 100%", but I'm a little more ambitious than that.

Back in July, when Delta hit, the CDC maps started looking like something from the pre-credits scene of a Milla Jovovitch movie:

But while the whole country was turning red, the Bay Area was still orange, and the graph looked like this. At the time, though I was still terrified, I judged it to be reasonable for me to be masked in a crowded room with other vaccinated people:

Then in December, Omicron happened, and the graph did this, and I nope'd out:

December-ish was also when I started hearing more about Long COVID, with numbers that seemed to move it into the category of "this is something you actually need to be concerned about", not some one-in-a-million thing that only a small number of people were unlucky enough to get.

So now here we are in March, and three things have happened:

  1. CDC has recolored their maps to reflect their new advice that so long as there is still freezer truck morgue capacity available in your area, you don't need to worry about COVID;

  2. Mask mandates are gone, and CDC has told everyone that masks are for your own protection instead of being a tool to reduce community transmission;

  3. And the SF graph now looks like this:

I don't want to be fused to my couch any more. I really, very much, very very much, wish to be standing on a sticky floor in a dark room full of people, listening to mediocre music. My standards are very low at this point. You don't even know.

But what I'm struggling with is, once that graph drops back down to pre-Delta levels, like, say, 50 new cases per day, should I go back to feeling comfortable being back in those crowded rooms full of purportedly-vaccinated strangers? Or do the facts that:

  1. Absolutely none of those fuckers will be masked, and
  2. I know more about Long COVID now,

mean that I should still be cowering at home, terrified?

I don't know how to do this math. The organization that is supposed to be providing this guidance, the organization that is chock-full of actual full-time professional epidemiologists, is now just transparently gaslighting us in the interest of... what? Political expediency and the economy instead of public health, I guess?

I also wonder whether that graph of new cases is as accurate today as it was last year, since, with both vaccinations and availability of home tests having increased, more and more people are probably getting infected but not reporting it.

Again: opinions not solicited! While my question is not rhetorical, as such, I am still very much not asking for your opinions or guesses as to the answer. You and I both know that you don't know.

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