Just when you thought it was okay (maybe) to step outside again (with a mask and proper social distancing) and maybe see your friends thanks to your Fauci Ouchie (I got my one and done vaccine on Saturday so I have two weeks to go before I’m considered fully vaccinated), there is news that a fourth wave of COVID is hitting the U.S. It’s enough to make a person feel even more anxious about reopenings.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. reported more than 64,000 new cases in the past seven days — of which, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), 20% were children. And though new cases had hit bottom around two weeks ago, the numbers are now up again to approximately 10,000 new cases a day. Led by New York — in particular, New York City — Michigan, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, this fourth wave is really messing with my vibe.
Folks, this is why we can’t have nice things.
Why are COVID cases in the U.S. rising
Even with 46 states on track to open up vaccine eligibility to people 16 or older by May 1, authorities urge caution and vigilance. Despite 19% of the U.S. population (330 million) being fully vaccinated and 33% receiving at least one dose, cases are increasing in half the states. In addition, the AAP reports that as of April 1st, more than 3.4 million children have tested positive for COVID-19. And roughly 64,000 new cases of COVID in kids were reported in the week prior, according to the AAP.
COVID variants are a partial reason for the rise of infections. Scientists say many of these new strains of the coronavirus are more readily transmissible and virulent like the variant known as B.1.1.7, which was first identified in the United Kingdom. According to the CDC, the B.1.1.7 strain is responsible for approximately 13% of new cases in Florida and 9% of new cases in New Jersey.
Unfortunately, the increase is also because people — and by people, I include states because states are run by people — are being stupid. But what else is new? Some states (I’m looking at you, Texas, Wyoming, Montana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Iowa — you miscreants) have opened up their states, eased mitigation methods, and are no longer requiring face masks in public. Plus, due to completely unwarranted “vaccine optimism,” unvaccinated folks have started to hang out indoors as well as relaxed the use of face coverings and social distancing.
No one wants to see your fucking faces, you ass pimples. Y’all were ugly from six feet away and are now even uglier up close. (And by ugly, I mean your souls — you selfish, selfish bastards.)
Should we be worried about a fourth wave of COVID
Yes. Yes, we should.
When CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, said she has feelings of impending doom at a White House briefing, we should pay attention. “We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope,” Walensky said, “but right now, I’m scared.”
It’s currently a race against time because the longer it takes to vaccinate people, the more likely a fourth wave instead little pockets of surges will actually happen. Plus, the longer it takes to quell COVID transmissions, variants will also have more time to mutate, crop up, and disseminate. At a daily rate of over 2 million vaccinations a day in the U.S., we’re vaccinating a greater proportion of our population than most nations, but until we reach herd immunity — which many experts no longer think will be possible — it still isn’t safe.
“What we have seen before is that things really have a tendency to surge and to surge big,” Walensky said. “For the health of our country, we must work together now to prevent a fourth surge.”
What we can do to help
You really don’t need me to tell you what to do. You already know it.
Avoid going out for non-essential activities. Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth. Practice safe social distancing. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated areas. If you are meeting people, stay outside. Get vaccinated. Isolate yourself if you experience any COVID-19 symptoms.
Look. It’s been more than a motherfucking year. I get it.
We’re sick of being inside — or alternatively, we’re sick of the outside being the only way to see people who are not in our immediate bubble. (Don’t @ me; I don’t believe in the outside and I won’t stand for its tyranny any longer.)
We all want life to revert back to The Before and hate The After.
We want to see people, send our children to school, never see our spouse again, and make our best attempts at being the best BTS groupie to ever groupie (okay, maybe that last one is just me).
I know you’re experiencing COVID-19 fatigue. We all are. But hang in there for just a little bit more — I beg of you — and maybe, just maybe, we can actually make it through the tunnel instead of constantly having the end yanked away from us.