Welp. Christmas is canceled. It was going to be small anyway - just my immediate family, my wife, and my brother-from-another-mother's small family of him, wife, and son; seven people, total. But now, with Omicron wrecking havoc on my county, it's all off.
Dad is 85 and frail. Sister works in senior care. Mom is 75 and dealing with recovery and additional surgeries due to breast cancer, and her next surgery is VERY important and scheduled for Jan 4. ANY glimpse of any sickness before then, and her surgery gets rescheduled out several MONTHS (assuming there are even any beds left after Omicron spikes after Xmas), and she can't sleep at night due to the current phase she is in her healing journey. The sooner the surgery, the sooner she can sleep at night.
Plus, she is effectively my Dad's full-time caregiver, since he is frail and often his brain is not firing on all cylinders. She's tired and vulnerable and afraid and finally had to make the Hard Call yesterday. (Two days after a car accident - not her fault - that totaled her car.)
Wife and I are fully vaxxed and boosted, and have fresh negative COVID tests from yesterday. But we will go over to Mom/Dad/Sister's house on Friday for a quick, masked-up visit, then go home. Christmas morning we will visit again, do presents (masked), and leave again. This way we get a small amount of Christmas, at least.
None of us are the least part religious. It has never been a part of our life. But our family is known for its parties. We do get-togethers REALLY well. So the holiday season has always been very festive, full of love and generosity, and bringing in all our "orphaned" friends who can't be with their families for various reasons. This year, we will have none of that. And it is hard to let go of it. Both my sister and mom are bereft.
After doing the math, I suspect May 2024 is when my wife and I will come fully out of hibernation. The hyper-infectivity of the Omicron variant will spawn at least two new - and worse - variants. That's just simple virus statistics, since Omicron doesn't care if the host dies, because it does all its work spreading in the first 2-3 days, and people don't die from it for weeks. So the question is not IF a more deadly variant comes out, but WHEN. And the timing of Omicron over Christmas is the perfect storm to spawn the truly yucky variant.
Hopefully they will be able to re-engineer the monoclonal antibodies to recognize the new spike protein of the omicron variant, so more people will recover from Omicron. But that research and work will be made moot by the more deadly variant that has yet to raise its ugly head.
That cycle will follow the same cycles the previous variants have, with six months of chaos before three months of relative calm once the science catches up... and the loosening of restrictions will instantly spawn the next variant.
However, from there I think we finally will have the upper hand. Vaccines and treatments will have a range of spike protein variants to target, and some clever dick will find another characteristic to target in ALL covid variants, so vaccines and treatments can be way more effective.
Around mid-2023 covid will become another flu, because we will have a full panel of preventatives and treatments to deal with it, and the dumbest 6.2m people will have died, eliminating their genes from the collective pool.
By late 2023, the adventurous (not me) will venture out into the light again.
By spring 2024, I figure, me and mine will be comfortable returning to some sort of normalcy... although that won't be like life was in the past. That time is gone. A new normal will be found and tacitly agreed upon by the masses, and we will emerge, blinking, into the bright sunlight of a new day.
One can hope.
But hope is not a thing I place a lot of value on right now.