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Virus Fire-Break

Most will be familiar with California's problems with wildfires. Like Flu Season, California has Wild Fire Season, where a combination of weather events and other manufactured and natural causes means your neighborhood may burn down. The government recommends each homeowner create a "fire-break" or a ring around their house where there is no vegetation that can dry out and become timber for a fast-moving wildfire. Fire-breaks can look ugly when your neighbor's yard is lush, but when your house is still standing after the one next door has burned, you care little about that.

Someone remarked to me the other day that they know many more people infected by COVID this past month than they ever did at the height of the pandemic in 2020. I can almost watch the disease moving through my social circles as people get sick, are hospitalized, and die. It feels like some people have accepted that sickness is inevitable, and personally I have found maintaining vigilance to be more of a chore than it was.

While reflecting on a conversation where yet another friend or family member was sick, I started to wonder how close to home, both literally and figuratively, COVID has become recently. COVID is no less virulent or devastating than a year ago like we were all hoping, and it feels like it is knocking at my door. So what can I do as it sweeps through my neighborhood?

The fire-break example works here. Fire feels somewhat chaotic, and so fire-breaks are no guarantee the fire will spare your house. COVID feels similarly chaotic, but I have lots of tools to encourage COVID to skip my house. Everyone in my family who can be is vaccinated, and as much as possible (i.e., boosters). We still wear masks to school, work, and when we're out and about. We use caution around those who refuse to practice basic safety and treat the virus like it's no big deal. The average Californian has seen enough burnt houses to respect fire, and I have seen enough become sick and die to respect COVID. I encourage the reader to consider the virus-break for their household.

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