Covid’s Back, Baby! (It Never Left)

Does the new variant pose a severe risk? The answer lies in your community’s hygiene habits.

Covid’s Back, Baby! (It Never Left)
San Francisco, October 1918. “Society women wearing ‘flu’ masks”

Covid is back, baby. Truthfully, it never left, despite many officials treating the pandemic as “over,” but the new XBB.1.5 variant boosts the threat level once more. Yippie! At this point, people with autoimmune issues and underlying conditions remain the worst-affected, while communities with high levels of vaccinations shouldn’t see too much of an increase in immediate* practical danger.

  • Immediate danger: Why do I stipulate this? Because, the symptoms of so-called Long-Covid are still being analyzed, but we do know that repeat infections double the likelihood of serious health consequences. ([1], [2], [3], [4]). The point isn’t to be scared. The point is to mask the “F” up and protect your fellow human beings.

Read the details on the new XBB.1.5 variant from The Guardian.

[The previously serious Covid variant] had a mutation that helped it beat the body’s immune defences, but this same quality also reduced its ability to infect human cells.
Prof Wendy Barclay from Imperial College London said XBB.1.5 has a mutation known as F486P, which restores this ability to bind to cells while continuing to evade immunity. That makes it spread more easily.

That said, you should be wearing your masks in public. Not only is it good for your own health, it’s a huge sign of respect, care, and courtesy towards people like me that you don’t just wear masks when it’s comfortable (or when there’s no peer-pressure).

It matters that you wear your mask throughout all your public interactions to help reduce the likelihood of spreading any infections. Because I don’t just want to not catch Covid-19… I’d rather not catch anything else, either.

Hi there! I’m Odin Halvorson, a librarian, independent scholar, film fanatic, fiction author, and tech enthusiast. If you like my work and want to support me, please consider becoming a paid subscriber for as little as $2.50 a month!

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