Last few nights I dreamt weird and scary things. I think that is the result of yet another surge of covid infections, which leads to a lot of anxiety inducing reports on the news. Due to the raised infections rates, especially around Daughter’s school, she and Man got infected with Covid-19, pretty much at the same time. Despite being on the younger and vaccinated side of statistics, I worried about Man’s health. He developed a fever and stayed in the (spare)bedroom for a nearly a week. Call it a severe cold, or a mild flu. Generally speaking people end up in hospital a week after first developing symptoms. Therefore I kept checking in with him whether he was feeling worse or better. Current state of affairs: he fully recovered.

Last week I talked to two women I work with. Both of them in their twenties and both their vaccinated boyfriends tested positive. One of them developed a mild flu that kept him in bed for five days. It somehow comforted me to know that men in their twenties can react the same as fifty plus Man. Interestingly, all three of us women didn’t test positive while being in close contact with covid-19. I suspect my defence mechanism did come into action as I had one day with a slightly elevated body temperature around the days that both Daughter and Man first tested positive on the home tests, but I’ll never know for sure. My PCR test after five days came back negative.

As has been the case since the beginning of this pandemic, Dutch government is responding too little, too late. They are talking about introducing the 2G variant of the corona pass, already implemented in other EU countries, meaning you only get access to social life outside your home when you’re either vaccinated or officially recovered from covid-19. I don’t think that will help the current situation at all, except to handing over toxic fuel to right-wing covid denying politicians and those willing to believe the narrative of government taking control over people’s personal life indefinitely. It won’t convince people to get vaccinated and it surely will not decrease hospitalisations short term or increase critical care personnel long term. The reality is that in this country we have even less beds available than before, due to staff quitting and getting overworked. A process that was going on before the pandemic and now being amplified.

To give you an idea of current rules, we are restricted to a nine to five corona pass social life. Restaurants, bars, non-essential shops, gyms, theatres and cinemas are closed after 5PM. Working from home should be the norm again, but Google’s recent mobility statistics show too little change after previous advise to work from home. Schools at all levels keep running. As a parent, especially being a parent of a kid who got immune in recent weeks, I’m thankful for that. The virus applauds this decision too, as it can freely spread like a bog fire: underground, ready to resurface in unexpected places. Face covering indoors is mandatory again. Late June this year, the outgoing Minister of Justice and Security improvised lyrics on a children’s melody to announce we could trash the face covering. That sort of sums up the long term vision the (still outgoing) Dutch leaders have. They failed to apply proven methods from crisis communication and social behaviour handbooks. Every. Single. Covid. Surge.

And now there is Omicron waving its altered spikes.

At least my household is over and done with covid-19 (variant: Delta, most likely), so we can live life again. For now. I wrote this while enjoying coffee at Bagels and Beans. For me personally nothing changes. Still working from home (and sometimes a cafe). Still enjoying life during the day. Still going to bed early. Still taking walks. Still planning to meet family next weekend for dinner and Sinterklaas. Still planning to see our friends in Switzerland at the end of the year.

To keep anxiety at bay I will unplug myself from the news as much as I can. I’m not an ostrich, I just need to keep focusing on things I can influence to keep sane. For that I need to stop worrying about things beyond my control. I’ll read more books instead. That’s a good strategy even without the pandemic. Climate change would otherwise dominate the news. Just as depressing.

Wherever you walk our wonderful planet, keep on walking. Sending you warm hugs from my tiny corner of earth.