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The dawn of a better year

2022 is going to be better. It’s got to be.

As COVID continues to change, some experts say it’s mutating itself out of being a pandemic. It may be here for good, and it seems to be transforming itself into something more on the level of the common cold. I hope that’s true. I’ve suffered from a lifetime of sinus problems, and I can deal with a runny nose and sneezing.

As of this writing, the CDC has ramped down COVID isolation to five days. Chances are, we’re all going to get this new variant. The majority of us vaccinated may not know we have it. Others, we will know you by your Kleenex. And five days of isolation? I could live with that. Some days I even say to myself, “What I wouldn’t give for five days of isolation.”

I don’t mean to lessen the impact COVID-19 has had on all our lives. We all know too many people who died because of it. “Oh, but they had compromised immune systems,” we’re told. Diabetes isn’t supposed to be a death sentence. Many pandemic deniers got religion when they or loved ones were put on ventilators.

I pray we’re through the worst of it. I know that we aren’t ready for another round. The CDC obviously had to do something, because the limitations it put in place couldn’t be supported by the action of our government and handled by our health care institutions. People were told not to travel home for Christmas unless they were tested. Our youngest daughter was almost stranded at college because of that. As a biproduct of finals week and days of not enough sleep, she got her end of the semester bought with what seemed like a cold. Young folks on university campuses can’t do anything these days without a cotton swap getting jammed up their nose. She started sniffling on a Friday and was tested on Monday of Christmas week. By Tuesday afternoon, she hadn’t heard back so she called. She was on hold for multiple hours. The same thing happened Wednesday and Thursday. She was starting to feel better but said she didn’t think she could come home for Christmas, because her results weren’t in yet. Her father ordered her home, offering the equivalent of a special dispensation. Plus, I had one rapid test on hand. We negotiated terms. She came home, took the test and was negative for COVID. She still wanted her “official” results and spent three hours on hold with the medical center on Christmas Eve morning only to get someone’s voicemail.

As of her departure Tuesday evening, she still never received her test results. Our healthcare system has become overwhelmed to the point that the government is finally acting.

I think it’s great now that the government is going to provide rapid tests, but they should have done that months ago. We’ve been behind the eight-ball on this virus from the day it emerged.

As we enter the twilight of 2021, thank you to everyone who has been on the front lines. We all need to offer gratitude for what our health care workers have endured.

And I want to wish you all the best in 2022. It’s going to get better. It has to.

BY JOHN McLOONE

December 29, 2021