2022 brings along its crazy uncle, the coronavirus

·3 min read

The coronavirus and its now two most infamous mutations have put a stain on a third calendar year.

Since March 2020, Texas, the Big Country and Taylor County have been combating a worldwide health crisis not experienced in 100 years.

As of Friday, the deaths of 576 people locally have been attributed to the virus.

More: COVID-19: Hendrick coping with full ERs, ICUs while dealing with staff shortage

Currently, the Omicron variant is the culprit. Reports of business disruptions in Abilene last week were numerous. Yet, in many ways, business went on as normal.

The word on the street is that Omicron will be short lived and its effects less than the original COVID-19 and its first well-known variant, Delta.

Dr. Gary Goodnight, the new health authority of the Abilene-Taylor County Public Health District, agreed with that assessment. Or at least is hopeful.

There remains a lot of unknown, despite "expert" opinion. On the street.

Spikes in cases elsewhere shot up, then about five weeks ago were down as dramatically. So maybe our spike will subside as quickly.

We just don't know.

Folks are getting sick as this variant seems to spread easily.

Without masks and social distancing part of our daily code of conduct, we can see why.

Are we still washing our hands for 20 seconds?

Gowns and masks are standard equipment these days for members of the medical community.
Gowns and masks are standard equipment these days for members of the medical community.

Got hand santizer?

U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci stated last week that Americans should not become complacent. Even if Omicron is not as lethal, our medical community again is under assault by the sheer number of new cases, he said.

We dragged a lot of baggage into 2022.

Last year at this time, a holiday season spike was causing havoc. Yet, because we still were not traveling as much, there were fewer major issues with airlines.

There have been plenty of those lately, with cancellations mounting. Frustrations, too.

A year later, we have "supply chain issues." Some items cannot be found, while others quickly are out of stock.

Those who use curbside pickup of groceries note how many items are substituted or unavailable.

To add further strain, costs are up - from vehicles and gas to food and essential household or personal items. This is putting a big dent in our spending power.

Some folks are weathering this better than others, still drinking specialty coffee and enjoying a pricy dinner. Others are making do.

There were 222 new cases reported Friday in Taylor County. Active cases doubled in one week, from just over 900 to more than 1,800.

Also Friday, the percentage of COVID-19 inpatients in the 16-county Abilene trauma service area was 9.14% of total capacity.

Hendrick Health has moved the community safety dial back to the highest level Monday: Emer.

Last week, Abilene Christian tightened its mask requirements in hopes of protecting students, faculty and staff. Targeted were large gatherings.

Yet, at other large gatherings in the city, few masks have been seen.

Goodnight urged Abilenians to get vaccinations and the booster. Some who followed that medical advice have gotten sick again but their cases are not as bad.

But starting a new year, who wants to be sick or risk their health?

We remain optimistic for 2022. But this is a good opportunity to be "cautiously optimistic."

Get back to business for good.

And give our healthcare heroes a break.

This article originally appeared on Abilene Reporter-News: 2022 brings along its crazy uncle, the coronavirus

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