So, Covid-19, why are we still talking?
By this point, we figured we’d be through with you. Sure, once upon a time, you were a “novel” coronavirus. But that was so 18 months ago.
In the meantime, we cracked your code. Then we developed a nifty vaccine – make that vaccines – to stop you. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. End of story.
That’s how it should have gone. At least here in the U.S., we could be in the midst of, to quote President Biden, a “summer of joy,” a return to life as we once knew it. As in, pre-you.
But we got cocky. And you got crafty. We figured, hey, if half of us are vaccinated, and that’s driven cases down to super-low numbers, why finish the job?
Like so many of your microbial cousins, you counted on us to behave exactly this way. Think antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The re-emergence of measles. Drug-resistant tuberculosis.
All of these exist thanks to our lack of discipline, on humans’ fundamental inability to complete what we’ve started. To do what we know we should.
You’re like that ex who just hangs around, waiting for that moment when we’re between relationships. Then you pounce.
You say, “Hey, I’ve changed.”
We look you up and down, squinting our eyes and pursing our lips. “Really?”
“Yeah,” you answer, nervously straightening your new outfit. “Now I’m the delta variant.”
You’ve worked yourself into better shape. You’re more charming, too, having refined your ability to move effortlessly from one group to the next.
But c’mon, Cov. You can’t fool us. When it comes down to it, you’re really just a worse version of that awful companion we thought we’d banished.
Unfortunately, though, you still have the keys to our house. You know all of our bad habits. You’re onto the fact that we like to go to bars and restaurants and hang out with our friends. You’re aware we love to travel and go to movies, and even though we say we’re going to be really, really careful, we’re not.
It shouldn’t have mattered. We had a good plan. We’d cut you out of our social circles. We’d get vaccinated. All our friends would, too, and then we’d never see you again.
Except it turns out that some of our friends aren’t really that committed to ending this thing. “He wasn’t as bad as you’re making him out to be,” they say. “And this vaccine thing?” – now they’re the ones squinting their eyes and pursing their lips – “It’s even worse.”
So, here you are again.
We, of course, remember how to keep you out of our lives. And some of us are doing our best, masking up again. Even if we’re vaccinated, we know we’d rather not take our chances with you.
And what about our friends? The ones who keep letting you back in?
It’s tough not to get frustrated with them. They know you’re dangerous. And that by tolerating you, they could be endangering us, too.
You’re probably laughing as you read this. You understand that the longer we point fingers and bicker with one another, the more time you get to hang around. And the longer you malinger, the better the odds you’ll reinvent yourself. Again.
Only in the next iteration, you may come back even worse. If that happens, we’ll condemn you. But in our hearts, we’ll know we have no one but ourselves to blame.
Adam Cohen is OMRF’s senior vice president & general counsel and interim president. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get On Your Health delivered to your inbox each Sunday — sign up here.