Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Late July Pandemic Update: Covid Continues

The pandemic isn't quite over, even though most people think that it is.  This month really brought that home to me.

I have had a busy summer.  I have quite a few additional responsibilities that are taking up a lot of my time.  I won't be free from all of those additional responsibilities when school starts soon.  

I was tremendously stressed in May and June.  As a result, I had missed the important development that our vaccines no longer protect us well from getting Covid-19. 

On the morning of July 14, I was trudging into Walmart, feeling not that great.  I noticed that both arms, both legs, and both feet were aching a lot.  While it seemed a bit much, I concluded that my autoimmunity was acting up.  I didn't think anything else of it.  In the early afternoon, my nose became runny.  I still didn't think anything of it, but I became rather tired.  I decided to lie down.

I woke up around 7 PM, and my skin was hot.  My temperature was 102.5 degrees.  I knew then that I had a virus.  I get autoimmune flares where I will have a transitory fever of up to 100.5 degrees, but a temperature of 102.5 degrees is not from an autoimmune flare.  

I initially refused to consider Covid-19 and wondered if the flu were still going around.  I laugh when I think about it, but I had read in June that the flu was still active.  It wasn't an impossible idea.  I checked the CDC's flu watch page and learned that the flu is still circulating at low levels. 

(Note:  The CDC typically quits tracking the flu during the spring months, but this year, they have continued to update their page due to continued flu activity all summer.  The flu season never ended this year.)   

At the same time, I knew that I was grasping at straws.  I had to face the truth.  

I spoke to my mother, who complained that she had felt off all day long.  I asked if it could be a virus.  She said that it was a possibility.  We took rapid tests, and both of us tested positive for Covid-19.

It got me.  I avoided Covid-19 for 30 months, and it finally got me.

On July 15, my father tested positive.  Before that, he was also in denial.  He had wondered if my result could have been a false positive since the test was slightly expired.  I replied, "My sense of smell is 90% gone.  This is covid."

All three of us are vaccinated and had gotten the first booster shot.  None of us had gotten the second booster shot, but I doubt that it would have prevented the infections.  The vaccines are based on the original Covid-19 virus, and the current Omicron variants are evading the vaccines.  

Fortunately, my sense of smell rapidly returned.  I more than halfway lost my sense of taste, and I also lost my appetite.  Now two weeks later, both have mostly returned.

My symptoms were mild.  I was not right for around four to five days with general malaise and tiredness.  I never got shortness of breath and never had a cough.  My parents also had mild symptoms overall.  My father did get a mild cough.  My mother took longer to clear the virus and had a more severe loss of appetite and tiredness.  

I am certain that the vaccines prevented us from getting more severe symptoms.  All three of us are at high-risk for serious complications of Covid-19.  We are fortunate that we are vaccinated and that we were able to avoid complications. 

I was chagrined that I got the virus, since I had not been wearing a mask in June and early July.  I felt at first like I could have avoided getting the virus if I had been more careful.  However, I was continuing to stay away from people in stores and was being cautious even though not wearing a mask.  I feel that I would have gotten the virus anyway since the vaccines no longer offer good protection against infection.  Omicron BA.5 is extremely infectious.  

As I have done the last two years, I will be shutting down my eBay and Etsy stores in advance of the beginning of the upcoming school year.  I go back to work on August 5, so I anticipate that I will deactivate all my listings no later than August 3.  I like to let everyone know as a courtesy in case anyone is interested in a listing and wants to make a purchase before the listings are deactivated.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

I do not know how long the listings will be deactivated.  It depends upon how everything goes.

I expect that this school year will have a very rocky start.  The last two school years were very difficult with last year far worse.  I teach Algebra 2, and my students from last year were in Algebra I during the 2019-2020 school year, which was a mostly normal school year.  However, those students lost the last nine weeks of their Algebra I course during the pandemic school shutdown in spring 2020.  Last year was a mighty struggle since my students missed the most important Algebra I topics during the shutdown.  It took us most of last school year to overcome that skill loss.

The students I will have this coming school year took Algebra I during our blended learning school year, 2020-2021.  For three-fourths of that school year, they attended school in-person only two days per week.  During that year, students became experts at cheating with Photomath (an app that solves any math problem photographed by the app's user, showing all steps).  The students learned very little during blended learning since they did their homework at home by using Photomath.  This year's students might have even larger skill deficits than last year's group.

Compounding the problem is that Covid-19 is running rampant in Oklahoma right now.  School will likely be a bit chaotic as it starts.

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