COVID19 life Work

And the pandemic rages on . . .

July 20, 2021

Just feeling kind of down.

I feel like we hit such a lovely high point this summer. A point where it felt like — in this country, specifically — the pandemic was largely behind us. When we traveled to Hawk’s Cay, it felt almost normal. Case rates at that time were low and falling.

I still do not have a lot of fear about becoming ill with COVID — for myself, Josh, or the kids. Because the vaccines appear to still be working. At least for now. And kids — especially young + healthy ones — just generally do not too terribly sick with COVID most of the time.

(Yes, some children do get sick from COVID. A very few die. MIS-C and blood clots are real complications and they can be devastating. But they are not common ones. I also have the perspective of seeing how many children get sick with other things: leukemia. drowning. meningitis. Yet I spend zero hours worrying about these things. Actually, that’s not true; I do sometimes worry about drowning, and cannot wait for G’s swimming skills to improve. It is a scary and real risk too – probably higher than COVID.)

((Yes, I am sure I am influenced by the kids’ previous COVID infection, which was an uneventful as it gets as all 3 were entirely asymptomatic. I recognize that is NOT everyone’s experience, but it was ours, and I am sure it does influence my own thought processes/risk assessment.))

I’ve actually been frustrated by sensationalized headlines maximizing risks (CNN recently had an article that stated outright “1/3 of infected children get long COVID” with no clear citation!). This recent Nature news article summarizes recent findings and my takeaway is that while there are certainly unknowns, 1/3 is likely a significant overestimate.

I also continue to feel that months upon months of altered living has consequences. As I’ve mentioned, we’ve seen a huge spike in overt type 2 diabetes in teens and there is a mental health crisis. These risks are real too, even though they may not be the salient ones in line with all of the headlines.

ALL THAT SAID, clearly COVID numbers are skyrocketing in many areas, including mine, and it sucks.

I am tired of my program director job feeling like it is 50% about COVID mitigation.

I am tired of early morning meetings that focus on COVID policies.

I am sad that I have to think twice about any social invitation.

I am sad that there are hordes of people in this country that are expressing “vaccine hostility” — I found this article shocking.

All that said, today is another day and I will find things to be grateful about. Here are 3!

1- I get to work with a great resident who is excited to learn! (AND – I’m not on night call!!)

2- My close friend is due with baby #3 tomorrow and one of my college BFFs just had a healthy delivery (#2)!!! Bring on the baby pix!

3- Our family trip is just 2 weeks away and it’s largely COVID-proof – we rented a VRBO by the beach near Amelia Island. We are driving up. We can avoid restaurants and crowded areas entirely if we want and still have a week of family fun together, away from work. And I have high hopes that G will sleep better than the last time we traveled there!

The last time! July 2019.


  • Reply Mrs. Candid July 20, 2021 at 7:37 am

    Yes, it really sucks to know that our sense of normalcy was just an illusion and the pandemic is spiking again 😞 It is so sad that some people are against a life saving vaccine. The times we live in 😒

    Wish you a happy vacation, I am sure G will have lots of fun this time.

  • Reply gwinne July 20, 2021 at 8:01 am

    All this. And I find it so enraging that mask mandates have been dropped with so many unvaccinated people (many of them–including all children!–not by their own choice).

    In my area cases are still very low but I anticipate that changing when students come back to campus next month as we do not have a vax requirement.

  • Reply Angie July 20, 2021 at 8:12 am

    I agree with it all. We felt normalcy. I was ready to send my kids to school in fall but here in Utah I know there will be no masks in schools and my kids, kinder and 3rd, can’t get the vaccine yet so that makes me a bit nervous. I know parents here are over it, have been not taking seriously since the beginning and I make myself and my kids wear masks in buildings and people stare at us. I’m over it. I just want our vaccine for the kids and then I’m over caring about others. I get no sympathy from neighbors here when I say I lost multiple family members and I hate how this has changed my friendships and made me look differently at others. I know covid isn’t going anywhere for quite a while so trying to learn to deal with this.

    • Reply nicoleandmaggie July 20, 2021 at 8:57 am

      Angie: we’re in a similar situation. The AAP came out yesterday recommending mask mandates at schools. We’re calling our governors office today to ask him to allow schools where the kids can’t get vaccinated yet to have mask mandates. Realistically I know he’s not going to make a move until other far right conservative governors do. But the bigger push there is from frightened parents the more likely they’ll do the right thing, If kids under 12 can’t get vaccinated until January (!), we need mask mandates allowed.

      Bottom line: there’s still time to pressure our government to reverse these decisions for unvaccinated grades. Especially with this new AAP recommendation as a saving face excuse.

      We can also call our school superintendents offices to get them to pressure the government for exceptions.

      • Reply Milly July 20, 2021 at 9:08 am

        How do you feel about the WHO’s recommendations that children 5 and under should not be required to wear masks, yet when the mandates were in place, those children were forced to wear one? The WHO’s recommendation has been this all along, but it has been completely ignored.

        They even recommend masks within certain guidelines for 6-11, not a blanket mandate.

        • Reply nicoleandmaggie July 20, 2021 at 9:30 am

          @Milly in my state it has always been optional for school districts until the government said local/school mask mandates were not allowed at all (except for “medical establishments”). Last year our district had been going to have 7 and under optional for our local school district but then they realized that would be difficult to enforce and would have negative spillover effects for the other kids in the school so they just made it a K-12 mandate.

          The main exception for those guidelines linked for 6-11 is that there isn’t widespread transmission. Guess the correlation between widespread transmission and laws saying we can’t have mask mandates in K-12 schools. I’d be feeling a lot better about a year of mask-free middle school if we were living in Vermont.

      • Reply Angie July 22, 2021 at 4:10 pm

        Good idea! We obviously have a Republican governor but he is trying to the vaccine out and taking it pretty seriously. Our legislators are not and passed a law banning masks in school. We talk to my son’s allergist next week about his asthma and I’m going to see what they say. My son says he has no problem wearing a mask when others don’t and if it helps him feel less anxious I’m glad. I’m waiting to see if kids make fun of those that do because I heard that happened the last 2 weeks of school when they dropped the mandate. If it does I will go full momma bear because that is ridiculous. Supposedly the legislators are trying to figure out what to do. Why they’re not listening to our state health department and not science is beyond me but that’s what got us into this mess to begin with.

        • Reply nicoleandmaggie July 22, 2021 at 4:22 pm

          You can call your legislator(s) to tell them this is a major priority to get this done before school starts!

          For people who haven’t called before and want to, you can put your address in this link and it will tell you who all of your representatives are at the state level:

          For me, I prefer to call after hours so I can leave a message (but talking to a staffer is better!) and I have a script written out beforehand because I get really nervous on the phone.

  • Reply Anne July 20, 2021 at 8:51 am

    I hear you and have been feeling similarly down about it this week. My kids are 7 and 3, so also too young for the vaccine and while I am not terrified of them getting Covid, the logistics of another abnormal school year, possible quarantines, etc. are so frustrating. We have great tools to be able to address this problem in safe, effective vaccines and yet…here we are again.

  • Reply Milly July 20, 2021 at 9:12 am

    Sarah, I appreciate that you acknowledged the largely unspoken consequences (mostly for children) of living this way month over month over month. These consequences are larger ignored in many conversations I am part of and it’s exhausting.

    • Reply Amy July 20, 2021 at 10:27 am

      Agreed. We have to make tradeoffs here and (important!!) people MUST be free to make their own decisions, for themselves and their children.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns July 20, 2021 at 9:32 am

    I’m feeling disappointed, too. And so much of it is preventable if people would get vaccinated. When you see the data on who is being hospitalized/dying, it’s clear that the vaccine is working. It’s really frustrating as this all could have been handled so much better. We are so lucky here in the US to have easy and free access to vaccines. Other parts of the world are likely so envious of us. And yet – people choose to not get the vaccine. I’m still somewhat nervous about getting covid as I’m not sure how protected I am due to my immune supressant drugs. But I am getting off of prednisone so that helps! My cousin’s son got MIS-C which was pretty scary and he will need to be closely followed for quite awhile. So in general, life is normalish for us. We don’t eat inside of restaurants but that’s not appealing with a 3yo and 7mo anyways.. And all of our friends and family members are vaccinated, so I feel safe getting together with them, even though the kids aren’t vaccinated. But I’m definitely fatigued about having to think about what is safe.

    Things are still not too bad here in MN and I hope it remains that way so kids can safely go to school in the fall, with or without masks. We are years away from kindergarten and I had been thinking covid would not be an issue by then but now I am not so sure. 🙁

    • Reply BPS July 21, 2021 at 3:15 pm

      You always write like MN/your area is an exception, and I understand the hope, but realistically, until COVID is mitigated in the majority of the world, no place is COVID-proof. Look at LA County – despite the high % of vaccinations in CA, Delta is still spreading there. My county – right behind LA County in size – is 50-60% vaxxed and we were told yesterday that we’re on the cusp of a surge.

      My husband and I have kids of the exact same age. We still dine out (without the kids). We are fully vaxxed.

  • Reply Erin July 20, 2021 at 10:35 am

    ugh yes I feel all of this. I’m generally fairly pessimistic so assumed a fall wave anyway, but it’s arriving sooner than I had predicted!

    Really I’m just so glad we have been able to do a few normal things while it felt pretty safe (I’m also in MN and in a very highly vaccinated county) – in-person camp, pool visits, a road trip vacation, etc. I’m really bummed about the long wait for under 12 vaccines (by this rate my daughter will turn 12 before they are approved I think, but I also have a 6 and 9 year old).

    After re-engaging in more in-person things this summer, I’ve seen such a dramatic change in my kids and my/husband’s well-being (turns out doing 2 full time jobs and 3 kids in virtual school in one house was a detriment to everyone???) that for now unless things get QUITE a bit worse I’m still on board for in-person school in fall. I suspect my school district will be one that might have a mask mandate in elementary schools anyway so I’m hopeful things can at least be somewhat safe. But like others have mentioned….. just dealing with the quarantine rules/any other sickness/covid fears…. it’s so exhausting.

  • Reply Irene July 20, 2021 at 10:43 am

    Thank you for so beautifully summing up my feelings exactly! It is so nice to come hear and feel less alone. My friends and family either 1) never relaxed at all or 2) still think everything is over.

    My biggest concern is school in the fall. Dear god I don’t think we can do another year like last one. My poor daughter has just been robbed. We also finally finally found an in person therapist for her and it was SO much work. If they go virtual I just don’t know. Masks are better than virtual for her, by a lot! It’s crazy that some things are still virtual 100 percent but no one besides my family is wearing a mask in the grocery store any more.

    I get emails constantly about a potential return to the office but no one has made any decisions.

    Seriously it’s just impossible to plan so of course I’m dreading the worst after a brief window of feeling hopeful.

  • Reply Noemi July 20, 2021 at 10:56 am

    Ugh. I feel you 100%. I just put up a post expressing similar sentiments. I am starting to feel nervous about the fall, that my district or my kids’ will pull back on their commitment to 100% in person learning. I don’t think we should do that (at all! It would be a horrible mistake), but I worry they will. If we start in DL again I will lose my mind.

    I also am not so worried about my kids getting Covid (I have to admit, if they had had it already I would be magnitudes less concerned), and I’m definitely not worried about getting it myself now that I’m fully vaccinated. Mostly I just feel like we missed out on so much – our kids were offered only 10 days of in person learning last year – and vaccines will be available for them so soon – the prospect of them getting it at the finish line just feels… like it would tarnish all the sacrifices we made last year as we worked from home with our kids in distance learning. I know that is a selfish perspective but it’s where I’m at right now.

    We did quite a bit of traveling this summer and our kids spent time inside (maskless) with other family and friends, including lots of other kids (cohabitating, so LOTS of time), and we are definitely DONE doing that. We’re back to only masked, outdoor socializing for them and we’ll probably continue that until they are vaccinated. We are lucky that the weather here is pleasant enough to allow for that without much discomfort.

    I REALLY hope the vaccines will continue to hold their own against the variants, and that those vaccines will be approved for kids 2-11 soon.

  • Reply eva July 20, 2021 at 11:43 am

    Just look at the numbers from the Netherlands to see what happened in a few weeks by removing too many restrictions…

  • Reply Stacey July 20, 2021 at 12:56 pm

    I totally get the frustration about people not choosing to get freely available vaccines. I am 100% pro-vaccines and am fully vaccinated. Not that I necessarily think anyone who has commented is, but I caution anyone about getting too comfortable even in areas with high vaxx rates – we have a much better vaccination rate in the UK (albeit in adults over 18, since it’s not approved for anyone under 18) and the Delta variant is rampaging through the country anyway as things have opened up here. Hospitalizations are not nearly as bad as they had been in earlier peaks, but they are still rising. We’re just not through this yet, as demoralizing as it is.

  • Reply Katherine B July 20, 2021 at 1:11 pm

    I’m in the UK which has had an excellent vaccine roll out although still many younger people have only had time for one jab (our 21 year old daughter will get her second at the beginning of September so will only be fully protected by the end of the third week of September) and there is vaccine resistance particularly among the young who have had it fed to them that it’s not a serious illness, only old people die from it etc. We know young people who have been pretty ill with the Delta variant recently, though mostly on the mend now, and there is always the concern about Long Covid etc. Yet as a result of the Delta variant cases are spiking hugely just as we unlock and remove almost all restrictions. So far hospitalisations and deaths are also up, not like they were before mass vaccination, but still they are trending up and there is always that lag. It feels like we are part of some massive experiment against our will. Public opinion is evenly split between those who called Monday when the last restrictions were lifted “Freedom Day” and those who called it “Freedumb Day”! We don’t have to wear masks any longer by law but it is still recommended/advised/encouraged. And guess what? the people who don’t wear masks are the ones who are more gung ho about getting infected and therefore them wearing them is even more important. And lots of younger teenagers do want to be vaccinated, it’s also evenly split, but our government announced yesterday a very limited roll out of vaccinations for 17 year olds later this year. So because our daughter was born in April she won’t be eligible to be vaccinated until after Christmas even though her peers in her class at school who happen to have been born in October can get vaccinated now! This even though her dad, who she lives with, and her grandad who lives next door, are both on the clinically extremely vulnerable list! What a total mess. But at least looking back to a year ago maybe I can show gratitude that we have these vaccinations available, which have improved the situation so much, even though I genuinely thought it would be so much better by now.

  • Reply coco July 20, 2021 at 5:51 pm

    I feel your pain and frustration. yesterday someone just told me we are just at D, the alphabet list is very long. I was wondering from your clinical experience, are the people getting infected really those unvaccinated ones? are the vaccines effective against delta? I read mixed news about it so I wonder if your hospital has studied this.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 20, 2021 at 7:20 pm

      Currently in our area over 90% hospitalized are unvaccinated. I do not know what proportion delta but I would guess high.

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