Derek Thompson, in The Atlantic, with little data, argues that there are two types of vaccinated people. One is “vaxxed and done”: they’ve been vaccinated and are ‘returning to normal’ as a result. The other is “vaxxed and cautious”, who, for a variety of reasons, are remaining cautious. What the article misses entirely is the current moment–those who are vaccinated and sick.
Given Omicron and long COVID, along with personal caring responsibilities (the joys of being GenX), I’m more in the ‘vaxxed and cautious’ group–but that doesn’t matter. There is a reality of this moment which is impervious to the desires of either group–enough people who have had two, and some who have had three, doses are getting sick (along with the completely unvaccinated of course) to the point where many functions of society are…degraded. In D.C., buses are running at a 75% Saturday schedule because too many bus drivers are sick. The reality of schooling in areas hit hard by Omicron is that it is barely one step above day care (and given student absences, there will likely have to be a lot of repetition anyway to bring absent students back up to speed). It’s affecting supply chains too, and trash collection. And you would had to have been asleep for the last couple of weeks to not understand what is happening to medical personnel.
As Commandante Atrios put it:
No one I know who is getting sick is all that worried about death or even hospitalization. But some of them are still getting sick! Really sick! “I have never had a flu this bad” kind of sick!
More importantly, “no I can’t fucking go to work with this illness” sick! “No I can’t fucking even teach online like this” sick!
My point is that people aren’t simply having to stay home from work to follow some isolation protocol. 10 days, 5 days, 4 hours, whatever the latest is. They are fucking sick!!!
It’s no accident that the workers most able to tell their employers to fuck off because we’re sick, or would like to avoid becoming “fucking sick!!!”, are unionized, which is to say, the ones with the ability to tell their employers to fuck off.
Clicking our heels and wishing there’s no place like home works in stories, but not in the real world. Enough people are sick and they can’t work right now–and, yes, that does include teachers.