Updates from Elsewhere

So, my cold symptoms came back somewhat today, so I took another sick day and took it easy. And now I’m feeling better, so, yay.

The last few days I’ve been having trouble with my sleep apnea again so I’m giving my CPAP another shot. Since I’m on new insurance and getting healthcare at a different place now maybe I’ll get a new sleep doctor who actually listens to my concerns instead of just taking shortcuts based on simple apnea.

I also of course still want to get tested for COVID-19, if only for peace of mind. I’m not fond of this constant uncertainty. If I can get a clean diagnosis I can stop having an anxiety attack every time I cough or feel short of breath. And on the off chance I do have the virus I know what to prepare for. (Plus I switch to no-contact grocery and food delivery for a while.)

Inside I’m going to ruminate about the virus itself.

COVID-19 rumination

One of the things I wonder about with this virus is if people are making too many assumptions about it behaving like an everyday flu or cold. There have already been reports of people getting “reinfected,” but has anyone actually been tested as having been clear of the virus after their symptoms clear up? Maybe its progression is cyclic. Maybe it sticks around for a while. Maybe forever. I worry that the more we learn about this disease the more difficult it will turn out to be to deal with.

Maybe we’ll be stuck with it for a long, long time, and everyone affected will remain a carrier until we’re all affected. How will that affect people who aren’t able to shrug it off so well? The chronically ill and the immunocompromised in particular… I feel like this is a huge inflection point in our existence as a species.

It’s also feeling very… stark, how much of a difference there is in different peoples' reactions. I kind of hope that the people who are acting with kindness and caution are the ones who end up persisting after all this, and the people who are capitalizing on misfortune or going out of their way to ridicule the cautious are the ones who are the most likely to get infected. But I hate that I’m feeling that way. (And the virus doesn’t only infect the people acting foolishly, it’ll hop onto anyone who they come in contact with, whether they deserve it or not.)

I mean it’s not like I think this virus is some sort of divine judgment or that it has any will of its own or anything, but I can’t help but hope that it at least gets people to align themselves better in ways that make them more conscientious of others and act as a reminder to consume less and be less aggressive. Like, this feels like the sort of thing that would be seen as a good old-fashioned mass smiting back in the days of the Old Testament. What sins will future devotees see this as our comeuppance for? Greed, globalization, aggression?

It’s also just dumbfounding how quickly it went from an abstract, remote threat into something that’s affected everyone in their daily lives. When I started my job it was mostly just in China, and now it’s this global pandemic that has turned many thriving cities into disaster areas. It feels like that happened over the course of months, but I only started my job three weeks ago.

Anyway. With what we know about the virus so far I do think1 it’s incredibly likely that at some point, pretty much 100% of the population of the developed world will be infected with it at some point. Hopefully by the time it reaches that point, effective treatments have been found, and we develop the means necessary to mitigate its effects, and we come away from this feeling more humble and more vulnerable, and we do it without losing too many people.

Life will definitely go on, but we will absolutely be forever changed by this. Hopefully for the better.


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