Personal Response to Omicron

December 30th, 2021
covid-19
Throughout the pandemic, our household has been on the careful end. We started preparing in February 2020, isolated thoroughly from March to July, moderately over the summer, and then thoroughly again from October until all the adults in our house were vaccinated. Because I was immunocompromised, we had a newborn, and kids under five couldn't get vaccinated yet, however, our family's 2021 was still a lot like 2020. Then, in doing Christmas holidays with family I was very careful individually in the two weeks leading up to it and I was the one working on precautions and making sure we had enough tests: some of the people I really wanted to spend Christmas with are at elevated risk.

I wrote last week about how there are a range of paths we could take with Omicron as a society, but now that Christmas is over what am I going to do personally?

Well, what's the weather out there?

That's a lot of covid in the sewer, 5x the previous peak and still going up.

I think if it were critical that I or a housemate didn't get Omicron, it would be possible, but very difficult. We would need to go back to isolating the way we were in Fall 2020, treating vaccinated people as about as risky as unvaccinated people, pulling the kids out of school, and never going indoors anywhere. Given the likely effects of contracting covid as a child or boosted adult, this is not worth it for us or I suspect most people.

Instead, I expect that I, the people in my house, and pretty much everyone who doesn't take intense and careful effort to avoid it will be exposed to Omicron at some point in the next ~month. It's not a good thing, but it is what it is. Afterward, people's immune systems will have had yet another covid exposure, and I expect cases to go low until next fall. So I'm not going to stress about it: I'll follow official guidance and mask regulations, cheerfully go along with precautions others need, and test+isolate when sick, but I'm not going to go above and beyond to attempt to reduce spread the way I did for earlier parts of the pandemic.

I'm thinking of Omicron as the first wave of the endemic phase of covid-19. While "it's just the flu" was completely wrong in 2020, in 2022 the situation has changed enough of that "what would I do in flu season" is now a good guide.

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