Last Summer, there was a question I wanted to ask Dr. Henry… it was after the big initial wave had died down, and things looked ok at the time, but Dr. Henry kept warning about the impending second wave in the fall (which certainly happened) and how it would overlap with “respiratory season” (which didn’t… more below) – the time when all of us get sick and numbers always spike up, just not so seriously.
Colder temperatures leading to lowered immune systems, the climate where viruses thrive, people being inside more and in closer proximity… it’s annually the combination to leads to everyone, at some point, catching some version of the sniffles.
The question that I wanted to ask was… why would we expect anyone to be catching colds and flus from each other? With masks and social distancing and hand sanitizers everywhere, how would it work? Like how would we transmit a common cold to each other… but not C19?
The question was eventually asked by one of the reporters at one of the daily update briefings, but the answer wasn’t too convincing, from what I can recall. It was a bit vague… more to do with those illnesses being more contagious, etc… but still, they’d have to be pretty darn contagious to make their way past a lot of defences we’d all put up.
As it turns out, nature answered the question better… which was, there was next to no “respiratory season” at all. Speaking for myself, I inevitably get sick at some point over the winter… and I can usually tell you where or from whom I caught it. Stuck in a crowded ski lodge for an hour with a room packed with heavily breathing people and poor ventilation? Stuck in an airplane for a few hours? Getting infinite kissy-kissies from relatives?
Not really surprised that this year, I didn’t get sick. How could I? From whom? When and where? For the first time I can ever remember, no winter cold.
Did you? Certainly, nobody in my immediate circle got sick with any virus. A spot of food poisoning perhaps, but nothing contagious.
Which leads to ask an interesting question, one that Asians answered centuries ago… but we didn’t follow suit: Are masks now going to become much more normalized in Western society? They most certainly will not be mandated, but it’s the same as sunscreen… no one should be giving people dirty looks for doing whatever works for them… and I wonder… how common will masks be on planes? On public transit? These habits that we’ve normalized actually make a big difference. Forget C19 and the risk of death; let’s just talk about the risk of inconvenience. The risk of catching a cold, perhaps having to miss work or some event you were looking forward to.
And I do get it, some people will say to hell with it, I don’t care about catching the sniffles for a few days if it means I don’t have to worry about it after that. Just catch the seasonal cold, get it over with, and get on with your life. Makes sense too.
I’m undecided, to be honest. Chances are, if I don’t take it seriously always… ie, all the masks and social distancing and hand sanitizer I’m doing now, I’ll probably catch something at some point… and, therefore, what’s the point at all. That’s probably my version of it; get the seasonal flu shot, which from now on will be juiced up with the latest and greatest C19 formula… and go back to living… with a little bag of Kleenex in my pocket.