"People who see themselves primarily as victims are doomed." -- Louise Erdrich, "The Sentence"

Friday, September 2, 2022

Be Careful Out There

     I was feeling a little funky, but last I night managed to get through writing a new blog post. Then came the kicker. First, here's the post:

     I saw a report last week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that in 2021 life expectancy decreased for the second consecutive year. The decline is the largest two-year drop in nearly a hundred years (think World War I followed by the flu epidemic). It brings U. S. life expectancy at birth to 76.1 years, down from 77.3 in 2020 and 78.8 in 2019. 

     Native Americans suffered the worst fall in life-expectancy, almost two years since 2020 and an alarming six and a half years since 2019. White Americans saw a drop of one year since 2020. African Americans saw a decline of seven months, and Asian Americans a dip of just one month. Men have suffered a one-year drop from 2019, women about a seven-month drop.

     The Covid-19 pandemic is the main cause of the decline. However, increases in the number of people dying from drug overdoses and accidents also proved to be a significant factor.

     By way of background, life expectancy in the U. S. (as in most Western countries) improved considerably in the late 20th century due to a decrease in smoking and associated diseases, advances in medicine, improvements in auto safety and a reduction in violent crime. The progress plateaued around 2010, before turning down in 2020.

     With that in mind, please note that last week a new vaccine designed to combat the latest Omicron subvariant of the Coronavirus was approved by the government. The USDA says updated booster shots could be out to the public "within a few days."

    The new shots will be available to anyone who already had their primary vaccinations at least two months before receiving the booster dose. (See FDA News for the full report). You should be able to get the shot through pharmacies such as CVS and Rite Aid as well as many health-care providers.

     Then, as I was finishing my post, what happened? My wife called out from the bedroom, "I just tested positive for Covid," she said. I went on to take my own test. Also positive.

     It took two and a half years. We've been very careful -- well, maybe not quite as careful this summer as we had been -- but we finally got it.

     My wife and I are both vaccinated and boosted, but obviously haven't gotten the new vaccination. So far it just feels like a bad cold. Wish us luck.

     Be safe. Be well. And have a happy Labor Day weekend!


gigi-hawaii said...

So sorry you have the Covid. I never have had it. Take care. BTW, the news reported that people in Hawaii have the highest life expectancy in the nation -- well over 80 years!

Rian said...

Oh, Tom, so sorry to hear that. DH tested positive last January and it WAS like a cold. I never caught it. But you still have to be careful. My neighbor just lost her husband to Covid a few weeks ago. She and her son had it too - and it was just like a cold for them, but her husband died. So do check in with your doctor. There is an oral med now (or so I hear). I think being vaccinated and boostered helps. Do take care.

Arkansas Patti said...

Aww Tom I am so sorry that you both have caught the dreaded bug. I do hope your symptoms stay in the "cold" range. Do take care of eachother and Rian makes a good point about seeking medical attention. After being so careful for so long, this is no time to relax. Be well soon.

DJan said...

Sorry to hear that. I am anxious to get that new shot as soon as possible! I had a mild case of covid in March 2020.

ApacheDug said...

Tom, very sorry to read about you and your wife both testing positive. But you're not experiencing many symptoms? That does it, I'm making an appointment with rite aid next week for a second booster if that new vaccine is available. As for life expectancy, this past July 4th was my 15th anniversary of quitting smoking. I sure hope I gained a year or two back by now.

Anonymous said...

Certainly sorry that anyone has to deal with COVID-19, but most cases of late are cold-like. A word of caution. COVID has become very political and divisive. The latest vaccine booster has been approved by the FDA without any human testing done. The FDA has lost some luster as a neutral scientific arbiter of medication, witness the approval of the Alzheimer's treatment months ago contrary to the recommendation of the medical review committee (most of whom subsequently resigned over the approval).

Barb said...

I'm convinced that we will all get it. That doesn't mean I'll run out and have a chicken pox like party . It does mean I've had four shots and if there is another I'll have another. And another. But I'm not locking the front door or going into hiding. This is our new normal. Take care. Rest. Hydrate. Do all the things.

Tom said...

Gigi -- You're right, and I'm starting to think Hawaii is the place to live! My wife and I both consulted our doctors. I'm a little higher risk (older, male) so they put me on an antiviral called Molnupiravir. She's just supposed to take some extra vitamin D and C. So far, so good.

Miss Merry said...

I'm so sorry. It is rampant again here. I have several twice vaccinated, twice boosted neighbors who are positive and my teacher daughters tell me students are calling in daily. Best wishes to both of you.

DrumMajor said...

Oh, what a bummer! Keep track of the dates. The doc may have you wait a month or two after your covid episode before getting the soon-available booster version. Linda in Kansas

Anonymous said...

Oh Tom, I am so sorry to hear this! I too caught COVID last month for the first time. I've been so careful with always masking. I'm pretty sure I caught it at a crowded restaurant where we were unable to get outdoor dining. Paxlovid seemed to help, but with my autoimmune issues, the road to recovery was rough. My doctor says to wait at least 2 months after my infection before I get the new booster.

I'm hoping you and B sail through this without too much trouble. Hydrate, call on friends for help (groceries etc), and listen to your body; rest.


Olga said...

Sorry to hear that you both have COVID. THis is a good reminder that we cannot become complacent about this virus and its will to persist.

Wisewebwoman said...

Aw shyte Tom, so long exempt from it too. I hope it stays cold like and not worsen. I am still surprised that people think it's all in the past when the death rates here in 2022 are the worst since it began and I know US deaths are very high too. I do mask but I never know whether kids I interact with might infect. The new booster will be a must.

Celia said...

Sorry to hear this. Don't hesitate to get treated. I've been very careful and escaped it so far but my MD told me test and treat and if I get a positive and
to call them right away. I'm 80 and but our brother-in-law at 43 died of it even though his kids had the head cold version. Keep well. Do all the things. Hugs.

DUTA said...

Vaccination does not prevent transmission of the infection. Only the mask does.
(Vaccination is said to make the disease milder}.
All those who have removed the mask will sooner or later get positive.

DrCyberQuack said...

Retired med school prof here.

I am so very sorry to have read this about you and your wife. I do hope you will have nothing worse than a bad cold or a touch of a flu-like illness. The current variant (BA.5) seems to cause only mild-to-moderate illness in those fully vaccinated and fully (twice) boosted. But it is the most highly contagious variant to date.

Anyone who has not yet been fully vaccinated and double boosted is playing Russian roulette with his/her health. If you've only had a single booster, then go out immediately and get whatever you can for a second booster...just don't wait. If you have not received any vaccination, please start.

For what it's worth, I have not followed your admission of guilt, "We've been very careful -- well, maybe not quite as careful this summer as we had been..." and wear an N95 when I go to the grocery store at oh-dark-thirty on Sunday morning.

Hang in there!

Linda Myers said...

Lots of us got it this summer after being careful for over two years. Hope you only have the "cold" version.

Kay said...

Oh bummers! I'm so sorry. I've heard that the vaccinations don't actually prevent you from getting it. It prevents you from getting severe symptoms. I think.

I've also heard that it's best not to take the new vaccination too close to the last booster. Hmmmm.... Whatever the case, we're hoping to take it in November or December.

I'm just hoping your symptoms are mild and you are not struggling with it. Take care and try to rest please.

Ed said...

My wife recently got it for the first time. It was the second round for me, the first one being obtained before I was even eligible for the initial vaccine. Hopefully you aren't one of the "lucky" ones who lose their sense of taste and smell for a time.

Tabor said...

My son was vaccinated and boosted and still got it and actually was quite sick for a week. This disease is nasty.

Rebecca Olkowski said...

So sorry it finally got you, Tom. So far, I have escaped it. It's always something.

Anonymous said...

Took public transit.
Attended U.S. Open.
Got Covid.