– Ben Martens

COVID-19: Day 262

The current situation isn’t great: since I wrote last, cases have continued to rise. Increased restrictions don’t seem to be bringing the numbers down. The daily confirmed case counts are higher than they’ve ever been around here, but it’s hard to compare the various peaks since we’re always increasing the number of tests being performed. The death count is probably a better way to compare, but it is a lagging indicator. It takes people a while to die once they get it and then reporting takes more time. The chart below (source) shows where it’s at now, but it feels like we’re going to hit close to the peak from March. Hopefully it’s not worse than that. It will be hard to tell because the reporting is going to be wonky during Thanksgiving week because of people traveling, the day off, etc.

Despite the increasing death count, there has been some very encouraging news about vaccine trials and we could be a few weeks away from it being approved for emergency use. In the first world, the rollout could easily take a year and it will take much longer than that to cover the globe. Given that we aren’t frontline medical workers or in a high risk group, I expect it will be next summer-ish before my family gets it, but we’ll be lined up and ready to go when our turn comes. It’s easy for me to get bogged down dreading all the misinformation that’s going to spread causing more deaths because some people won’t get the vaccine, but I’m trying to stay positive. It’s incredible that we can even have the discussion about vaccines already, and I’m thankful for all the rules and regulations that are in place to produce a safe and effective treatment. What a bonus that there are a few vaccines that all look promising. I keep thinking about going through this 20 years ago. How would we have even gotten information about the vaccines? And yet today I searched around for info on the vaccine and was immediately presented with CDC pages including this page for individuals and a deeper page targeted at health care professionals. The road ahead won’t be easy, but it’s the way out of this mess. Stick that needle in me so I can safely leave my home and figure out what our new normal looks like.

Continuing the positive internet news, the seemingly unlikely duo of Bill Gates and Rashida Jones launched a podcast. I’m not all the way through the episodes they’ve released so far, but I’m really enjoying it. Rashida Jones asks the questions we’re all thinking, Bill Gates has devoted his life to global eradication of diseases, and they bring in additional experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci. The episodes aren’t all focused on COVID, but the series starts off in that subject area.

On the home front, we had a very different Thanksgiving, but as with all things this year, we looked for new opportunities to make special memories. We made all our favorite foods, baked Christmas cookies and got started with Christmas decorations. We had already planned to do Thanksgiving with just the three of us many weeks ago, but that decision was reinforced by a strong request from health officials to not celebrate outside of your household. On top of that, Elijah has a cold and got a COVID test on Tuesday (a negative result came back within 24 hours) so with all that piled on, we were thankful that we already had plans to stay in our bubble. Christmas will be the same way.

As I wrap up this check-in, I’m taking comfort from Deuteronomy 31:8:

The Lord himself will go ahead of you. He will be with you. He will not abandon you, and he will not forsake you. Do not be afraid and do not be overwhelmed.

Those words were from Moshes to Joshua and all the Israelites just before they entered Israel. Their situation was so much more stressful and complicated than this lockdown but those same promises apply to us. God is a constant. God is guiding our path. God is here.