Around this time last year, right after I got my first vaccination dose — Moderna, if you must know — I did some shopping.
I bought a good, grown-up raincoat with a warm, zip-in lining, and a sturdy umbrella that wouldn’t fold into origami at the first burst of high wind. I purchased these things after watching the coronavirus numbers steadily decline after the introduction of the vaccines in December 2020, knowing it would soon be time to get back to work, no matter the weather.
Understand I had spent the previous 12 months working from my kitchen table, with very few sales calls to make, even fewer accounts to tend to and much of administrative load slowed down to a trickle. We even cut the print edition for a couple months at the beginning, because we had no advertisers left except for Taylor Tire, and there was no one out on the streets to pick up the paper.
I filled my time with training in new technology, forming strategic alliances with other news outlets and writing a daily coronavirus update that ran five nights a week for almost exactly one year. And then I resumed face-to-face sales meetings, business lunches, professional events. I was raring to go, even if it rained.
Everybody knows what happened next: mass resistance to vaccinations ensued, enabling the formation of the Delta strain, which then quickly evolved into Omicron. But we sure had it good for a while there, didn’t we?
To be clear: The pandemic is far from over. The numbers we’ve amassed just since the first vaccines came out have eclipsed those that came before. We will hit 1 million coronavirus deaths in this country before spring comes to Boone, while in North Carolina our positive test rate is more than three times as high — 17.7 percent — than the 5 percent threshold we set to reopen schools in the fall of 2020.
But this week’s numbers are trending in the right direction. The days are getting just a bit warmer and the sun seems to be staying in the sky just a bit longer. Spring is not here yet, but it’s just down the road a piece. I’m ready for the rains when they come again. This time may they wash us clean.
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