As we enter another communal holiday season amongst a global pandemic, I cannot seem to forget that last Thanksgiving was likely the culprit to a semi-shutdown resulting in a Christmas that we have never experienced in modern history. While we have vaccinations and we are nearing target rates, I still fear having a repeat again this year due to the inaction of many to take the proper precaution.
Yes, 2021 like 2020 has had its share of challenges. Even with the administration of several vaccines earlier in the year, we still didn’t know much. As a result, we have had breakthrough cases. I personally believe that this breakthrough has infected more than we know, as COVID has been a series of unknowns in over 20 months. We are also discovering that the vaccines aren’t as protected as we thought they would be. The proof is in that in my county, for example, the positivity rate as of this writing is at 14.28% and while we did not meet the threshold of vaccination where we stand at 62.5% we are seeing that the government has allowed the administration of boosters for all, specifically six months after the Pfizer and Moderna and just two months after the administration of the J&J or Jannsen vaccine. Again, a lot of unknowns.
In recent weeks, authorization has been given for the use of a vaccine in those from 5-11 years old. This will hopefully aid the schools to stay open for some time over the winter break, as many schools had to return to virtual platforms due to severe operation. My nephew’s school has come off of a two week virtual session due to the school meeting the state’s threshold in forcing the school to do so.
As far as shutdowns go, I am certainly hoping we do not have to result back to a repeat of how it was last year. However, if it were to occur I am more prepared to do so than I was when the prolonged shutdown occurred at the beginning of the pandemic and even more than the holiday shutdown occurred last year. In fact, I think now of a sounder mind, believe that I could handle it better than I did the previous remote working instances. I am focusing more on mental and physical health needs that I did in those prior periods. I am being more self-aware of what I need to do to stay safe and be aware when I need to retreat to home. It is a good quality to have as many autistics aren’t often equipped with this capability until it is too late.
I have found more, healthier online support. For the longest time, I feared going to support groups or contributing to them on social media for fear of not being valid enough to experience a challenge in living. However, I am realizing that everyone has something to experience and that no one is less than another. Many of us share issues that challenge us in our daily lives With COVID and the multiple changes that have occurred has caused even more challenges. I still have issues because of how the changes in 2020 that made me change the routine that I thrived on. Things were different and although I have gotten back on my feet over a year now, it is still challenging to fight those fears that I still have that are pretty much invalid as much as I want to believe them. I know it isn’t healthy to stay in my comfort zone for extended periods of time. I also know that it has affected my routine because the fears we still have to face in the congregate settings are still there. I don’t agree for some of the disregard of some precautions, however I can do only what I need to do to be safe. Even if that means not changing my routine from the norm based on pattern rather than hours, I feel that is more beneficial to my mental health and wellbeing than financial health.
I feel very blessed as we are in almost two years since the first COVID case was discovered in China that I haven’t become infected with it. I have chosen to better protect myself so that I do not up the risk of being infected. I know I am practicing the right precautions to protect myself and mitigate risk in my personal environment. I may get looks and stares for what I do or be the minority in the crowd wearing a mask, but I have to fight the stigmas and know I am doing the right thing.