I haven’t done one of these in a while. COVID has become pretty routine for me. I wasn’t one to leave the house without a good reason previously, so for me, this is largely more of the same.
The most stark contrast I’ve seen between now and March or April has been that wearing masks is pretty normal now, and it’s fairly rare to go out and see somebody at the grocery store without one. It’s a nice change. The other night, I was watching a TV show in the realist tradition (mostly I guess I watch other stuff) and I was suddenly horrorstruck that nobody was wearing masks. What were all these people from this TV show from 10 years ago thinking?
Whether things seem all that different to me or not, here’s what we’re looking at right now in Tennessee.
Back in July and August was our first big uptick. It looked pretty severe at the time, and I think it was actually at about that time that I noticed more consistent mask usage. New cases even dipped for a while. But now they’re 2-plus times higher than they were during that spike. And with Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner, it’s hard to imagine this sort of graph will start to look better any time soon.
Meanwhile, we had an election. Trump lost, though he is not conceding and indeed is raising a big lying stink about it, opening lots of lawsuits to try to end-run around the results somehow. I worry that he and others will find a way to get past the election results and that we’ll double-down on fascism if he manages it. Meanwhile, he seems to be doing nothing but tweeting and golfing. He’s not really acknowledging that this virus is still a thing (though he and a bunch of the people who work closely with him contracted it) and has no apparent plan to try to do anything further about it. Biden and Harris meanwhile have formed a committee but can’t do much until the White House starts working with the transition team.
School is still in session, though I’m seeing more and more short-term closures as specific schools run out of custodial staff or substitute teachers. With the numbers climbing again, it’s really hard to believe the kids’ll go back post-Christmas, but then I thought they’d only go for a week or two so far this year, and they’ve been in session since late September. The school system has done a surprisingly good job with things, though I wish they had taken a different approach.