New COVID Wave Builds Plus There’s Monkey Pox

COVID-19 mask wearers on lockdown.
COVID-19 mask wearers on lockdown.

I had hoped my days of writing about COVID-19 again were behind me, but it appears that another big wave of the Omicron strain is sweeping across the United States.

CDC data says 86 percent of Americans live in an area with a high COVID transmission risk. But this wave is a secret wave. While it may be the second largest wave ever, it’s taking place below the radar and off the John Hopkins chart. That famous chart shows 2.3 million cases over the past four weeks, but experts expect the true count is closer to 500,000 new cases per day.

What’s keeping this high infection count under the radar? Home test kits. The results don’t get reported to the authorities and don’t make it into state data. In that sense, it’s becoming more like the flu. Many people who get sick don’t see their doctor and get better in a few days and the CDC never counts their case.

I am reminded of that old saw about a tree falling in the woods and whether it makes noise if no one is there to hear it. If a wave of illness happens, does it still count if no one reports it?

Highly Contagious

The latest variants of the Omicron strain are highly contagious, but those same experts believe it is less dangerous. Hospitalizations are low, as are deaths.

Among the most at-risk populations, however, immunity may be dropping as people figure the pandemic is over, stop getting boosted, and take greater risks. Deaths are a lagging indicator, so we may have to wait another month to see if the new versions are still as deadly among the elderly.

The real question, which no one is talking about, is whether the mRNA shots contribute to the formation of these new strains.

Been There, Done That

Here’s my take on this new wave: Been there, done that, got the face mask to prove it. I’m not planning to change my life because of more COVID, but I also don’t fly anywhere, go to conventions, or watch movies in crowded theaters. Not because I am trying to avoid COVID, but because I left that life behind me when I moved to our isolated homestead.

I expect we’ll see more lockdowns, mask mandates, and other restrictions. My advice remains the same: You do you. If you feel safer staying home, stay home. If you feel safer wearing two face masks, then wear two face masks. On the other hand, if you don’t think it’s a threat, then enjoy the emptier restaurants as other people stay home. It’s up to each of us to make our own decisions.

Monkey What?

Is it just an amazing coincidence that the Monkey Pox outbreak started in mid-May, exactly when it did in a simulated exercise the Nuclear Threat Initiative ran with world leaders in March 2021? Why does it seem like everything we plan for actually happens? It’s enough to make even a mild-mannered prepper suspicious.

By the way, in the simulation, the disease eventually reached 3 billion cases and 270 million deaths, making it about 43 times more deadly than COVID has been to date. So far, there are 100 cases in Europe. Many of them are apparently linked back to a gay pride festival that took place between May 5 and 15. If that turns out to be a super spreader event, expect more cases to pop up.

U.S. spokespeople seem to go out of their way to reassure the populace that “this isn’t COVID,” and that the disease isn’t transmitted via air or aerosol. Of course, these are the same people that had us wiping down doorknobs, pushing elevator buttons with our elbows, and disinfecting Amazon packages. I wouldn’t take anything they say early in an outbreak as set in stone.

As of now, if you don’t travel to Africa where the disease originates, avoid gay pride parades, and aren’t having sex with gay or bisexual men, it appears your chances of getting Monkey Pox are negligible.

I’ll wait and see if the one positive and four suspected cases in the U.S. turn into a few thousand before I get too excited about this latest “plague.”