After writing on Covid this week, the most fascinating aspect of feedback wasn’t any one response in particular. It was, based on the range of responses, just seeing how radically different peoples’ experience of this issue is, based on location. So, lemme know: Does your area panic or shrug at the Winter wave?
2. Panicking that people suspect you're not panicking
Central Maine. Shrug. Go down to Portland, Maine (gentrified AF in the last decade, it's a yuppie paradise) and it's masks outside. Looks kinda like a class divide?
Northern Virginia, home of highly educated rich morons. Type of place where people wear masks while jogging and make 3 year olds wear masks on the playground. So panicking...mostly... unless its something really important like going to a beer fest or a traveling Van Gogh experience.
One thing that occurred to me is the low level, but constant divisiveness of masking. Like every time I go in anywhere I see mask people and no mask people and I'm kind of hoping there are more people on my side. I assume most people are like this. It's not a huge thing, but it happens every day all the time, and I think it's pretty draining over such a long period of time.
My panic meter is at a 4/10 and concerns are in order:
1. immediate/me family missing school/work for quarantine
2. getting someone else sick who has a bad outcome
3. our own health outcomes
I personally know younger/healthier people who had Covid experiences that took months of recovery. That’s scary. And I get the odds of us having those kinds of outcomes are higher than odds of say a bad car accident. But it’s still low and we still just don’t have lifestyles that involve regularly hanging in big crowds of likely unvaccinated people. So it’s a minor worry.
Our greater area is a mix. The near Milwaukee area where I live is very similar to my views generally. The outer suburbs (like the Waukesha area where that bad parade thing happened recently) very quickly gets to people acknowledge Covid is real but thinking it’s the flu.
And get a step further out and the whole rest of the state minus Madison thinks it’s a liberal hoax.
Shrug. I live in Greene County upstate NY. We have Hunter and Windham ski slopes that helped lure lots of city people to buy second houses. Most must be freaked out at all us unmasked "hillbllies" enjoying our lives. Ethan, the NFL read your NBA column and took your wise advise.
1- Everyone has had the opportunity to be vaccinated
2- The vaccine doesn't stop the virus, it reduces the chance of death.
3- Evidence comparing SARS COV -1 and -19 suggests that natural immunity from fighting off the virus is permanent.
Conclusion - life should return to normal, and those that are extremely high risk should take personal precautions.
The restrictions valorize loneliness. Hence the fear of their dissolution for so many.
I live in Orange County, CA - panic to the north (LA) but for the most part, people are sensible here (wear a mask, don’t wear a mask, whatever). Our numbers have consistently been on par or better than LAs, even with less restrictions. I look at the data, I understand the risks, I don’t understand some of the hysterics (school closings / vaccine mandates for kids based on how low risk they are) but am vaccinated. I find the corporate media hysterics driving this on the coasts a big issue and extremely frustrating. Most people I know are over it all and exhausted.
My wife and I are unvaccinated but we are still getting together with the whole family (mostly vaccinated). When it comes to family nobody on either side is fearful of covid.
We’re on Long Island. Culturally It is closer to the “shrug” end of the spectrum. But proximity and deep ties to NYC, a fully and permanently panicked population, causes a lot of weird tensions. So while we are technically operating under the revived restrictions imposed by our new governor ( mask mandates mostly), nobody is really paying attention, and to the extent they are, they’re annoyed.
But it IS smashing through our schools. This whole “b-b-b-but schools aren’t vectors for Covid!!” was always absurd. There isn’t anything magical about schools that keeps them safe, and now some of our schools (all of which have been masked/distanced for two years now) are closed just because there aren’t enough teachers or students.
My oldest son (6) has it. He’s fine - a fever on Tuesday and since then nothing. He’s vaccinated. We’re scared - we’ve got two other sons, too young to be vaccinated - but even that fear is passing. It just isn’t anything. We’re getting more worried that we won’t be able to host Christmas than anything else.
Fuck, we’re probably not going to be able to. Too many oldsters, and anyway, the chance that the four of us skate through this quarantine without contracting this feels slight. Fuck.
I live just outside Baltimore, MD. I'm not panicking. I'm vaccinated and boosted, and I saw the new Spider-Man movie opening night in a packed theater. I feel fine.
My advice is to get vaxxed and boosted, then go on living your life. Leave the anguishing and bellyaching to others, and don't waste a moment yelling about anti-vaxxers online.
Gulf Coast Texas here. No one cares. Everyone I know / work with is fully vaxxed but many are not. People consistently dieing but it changes nothing. My wife and I think of ourselves as compassionate people but you can definitely feel the fuck you attitude from others. From unvaxxed people it's "fuck you, ill do what I want". From the vaxxed people it's "fuck you and die". Kinda unsettling.
I lived in Tampa at the start of the pandemic and moved to Houston in July. Other than about 20% of people wearing masks, life is completely the same as it was in 2019. And it’s been that way for many months.
Which is why I still can’t fathom how people actually think that mitigations make any tangible difference whatsoever. Behavior of the population was literally identical all year. Seasonality is the only difference maker.
I'm in Colorado but in Douglas County which is red. No mask mandate here. Schools do not have a mask mandate anymore either (thank god). Sending my 3 year old to school in a mask pissed me off when we had to do it. For all the "follow the science" people, none of them follow the science when it comes to kids and masking.
I had covid in Nov of 2020. My wife and 2 boys also got it. Very minor symptoms. I got vaxed in August mainly because my wife was pregnant with boy #3 and we didn't feel comfortable with her getting vaxed during pregnancy. Most people around me shrug. We just want to live and enjoy life again. When we had no vaccine it was the "unmasked" causing all the trouble. Now it is the "unvaccinated" causing all the problems. I'm sure those have merit to a degree but the constant blaming on one side isn't really helpful or bringing people to your side to get vaxed. Honest, open dialogue will help get people to change their mind but that seems to be out these days in favor demonizing and being an a**hole.
The mood in LA has been well covered so won’t rehash that. Back in Australia where I’m originally from: There’s permanent fear - not in the virus - but in the government at both national and state level. Is there going to be another complete lockdown (can’t see family, can’t go to the park, or go more than 5km from home) when there’s a grand total of 50 people infected. The vaccine rollout was incompetent but finally percentage is high. Twitter in Australia is the same as here in US - laced with stupidity and overreaction. Jobs have been lost, livelihoods ruined. Victoria’s Premier’s (equivalent of Stare Governor) entire re-election case is predicated on keeping the spread at zero or near it (he adopted this policy from the start) so the truth is he’s not following the science anymore but on what will get him re-elected. Some of the lockdowns were necessary. Others not. Mostly Australians are shrugging and enjoying the summer now.
South Texas - some mask, some don’t, no way any mandate will be complied with
northern mew mexico:
Panic until all of my grandchildren have been vaccinated and everyone I know and love have also been boosted. I don’t think I’ll ever shrug because of the devastation this virus and all of its variants have already done.
New Jersey - Pretty diverse in how people treat the virus. I am an outside sales rep and travel to all parts of the state. Numerous people I come in contact with aren’t mask crazy but are mostly vaxxed. A lot of the working guys I know are pretty adamant about not getting vaxxed.
Friends and family that are pro vaxx seem to look down on people that are not vaxxed, which is unsettling.
Pittsburgh - I’d say mostly shrugging, perhaps with a little bit of lip service to panic
Also, from North Dakota and visiting there for Christmas, but you don’t need me to tell you whether they are panicking or shrugging…
Here in Oregon, or the Portland-metro area specifically, id usay many/most still live in fear. Last week i was talking to someone who moved here from St. Louis a couple months ago and asked her what she thought of Oregon so far and she said overwhelmingly it felt like people live in a constant state of fear. This summer our company allowed employees to remove their mask at work if they were vaccinated which followed the governor's mandate, and almost all of them chose to continue wearing a mask. If you see someone in a grocery store walking around without a mask, you can feel people glaring at them. Aside from restaurants having indoor seating available, it feel identical to 1.5 years ago.
Oklahoma it’s a shrug. At this point almost everybody I know has had it and come out ok. Some were vaccinated and some weren’t. Still rarely see masks in stores. Is what it is. Most of the school districts have dropped mask mandates here. On some level I feel for the politicians who have to look like they doing something but there really just aren’t very many cards to play.
Closer to Meh than panic. I think it’s about information sources. Stop watching the medias death counters or bloviation about hoaxes - find credible balanced info - I’d recommend ZdoggMD and Vinay Prasad- both physicians who approach COVID rationally and with data in mind.
I'm very tired of Covid. I lean left on basically every issue and I live in Texas. I'm not all that concerned about the virus affecting me since I'm boosted. My loved ones are boosted.
I live in a city that was ravaged by the virus last year. International news stations came to report on us. It was awful. Hospitals were overwhelmed. We had more than a dozen mobile morgues.
I just don't want us to get to that level again, but I understand that we're no longer in a pre-vaccine world. Life has to go on, but I think it's reasonable for people to be concerned. A lot of us saw a lot of horrible shit.
Mostly a shrug in Charleston, SC. The grocery store is really the only place I notice above average mask wearing at this point. By and large the attitude seems to be: No one's expecting you to wear a mask, but if you want to wear one that's fine.
One of my favorite stories recently was I was with my wife at OB for an ultrasound which requires a mask. However when we went into the sonography room the tech told us we didn't have to wear a mask and as I pulled mine off I said" Yeah this is about the only place I still am required to wear one" and she replied "OH YOU NOTICED?!" Unfortunately for her I don't see them dropping that requirement any time soon haha.
Live in Winnipeg, Canada. So we've had an uptick of cases and the government has started to reduce the capacity at restaurants and gyms. This is over the fact that only doubly vaccinated people are allowed into these places and masks are mandatory at the gyms. Big stores are reducing the capacity too though they don't ask for vaccination status. The government is now moving to ensure availability of at home tests for the holidays.
Overall, people wear masks in most of the places and just move on from what I've seen. At this point, I've just given up on going to places without masks.
Bay Area: The COVID hawks in my circle aren't returning to quarantine / isolation. It just kicked them out of their chair to get boosted. Maybe folks get more cautious if / when the wave comes here, but I doubt it.
I live in San Diego and I’d say the consensus among my friends and family is a shrug. Everyone I know is vaccinated and most people are also boosted. It’s warm enough here that people can just spend more time outside. Most of the coverage of omicron says that it’s more contagious, but less serious. There might be a terrible variant that emerges in the future, but it doesn’t seem like this is the one to worry about.
I'm in Chicago. We've had mask mandates since the Delta surge in August, so we're already kinda ready for this upcoming wave.
Personally, I'm scared of Covid, namely of losing my sense of taste. Nightmare stuff. I live for food and drink. But I'm double vaxxed and boosted. What more can I do? And what more can society do? We can't shut everything down again. We still gotta work and live our lives. Time doesn't stop. The bills don't stop. I'm not sure how the next few weeks will go.
Mixed bag in England, our politicians are going through corruption scandals at the moment and breaking lockdown laws last Christmas so they've lost a lot of the moral authority and personally wouldn't change my behaviour too much. That said we missed events this week due to COVID and got boosters today, to make sure we're ok for Christmas as I have a few elderly relatives attending and better safe than sorry! After Christmas will probably be somewhat careful but get back to normal as soon as possible