By ALDO AGUILAR
As I lie in bed in the Mexican heat in Ojinaga, Chihuahua, the day drifts by. My thoughts are fleeting and few, drifting as a daydream, everything all at once and none at all. It feels like an eternity, but only a few hours have passed. My body aches, the fatigue eats up at me and the most unbearable headaches are killing me. This was my experience just one day after catching the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
With COVID becoming endemic, the world is slowly turning back to normal. With lax COVID protocols in public, less social distancing and less enforcement of face masks, it seems like everything is back to normal, but is that enough? With recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the U.S. has an average of 40,000 daily infections reported. Only 68% of the population is vaccinated.
With a little over half of the population having some vaccination from the virus, this data looks good. The death and recovery rates have been good and the data has been flat for a while. But it’s too early in this battle to relax and let our guard down. With autumn and winter coming up, not only do we have to worry about COVID but the flu season right now.
Although the data may show lower infection rates, that doesn’t mean that the virus is gone for good. It’s here to stay so I believe that we can be doing better to keep people safe. COVID is here to stay, just like the flu it’s going to keep evolving. With many different variants that can appear, we can prevent the virus from getting worse.
The Omicron variant is not a fun experience. Even though I am fully vaccinated and boosted, the virus still affected me. This virus affected me in a harsh way. Constant fatigue, body aches and a little short of breath–its effects still linger with me.
Ask anyone who has experienced COVID, long COVID is no figment of the imagination. The brain fog, short of breath and fatigue have become long term conditions for millions. We need to encourage each other to get vaccinated and to mask up with large gatherings to minimize the spread. You may think that you’re not going to get it or you’ll be fine, but I had it before and this second case hit extremely hard. This virus is not just a one-time deal. Think of your family, friends and peers. We know people that are fighting other conditions, and the virus can prove fatal for them. We all need to vaccinate and mask up to stop this virus from mutating and evolving.
Many of us have forgotten about COVID. I had until I caught it again this semester, spent a week in agony and am still fighting residual effects. We can all do more to help each other. Do your part.