Almost Everyone’s Going to Have a Normal Christmas
Whether they should or not. (Though they probably should.)
Tomorrow, I’m going to see my sister. (She is not in the above picture. Neither am I.) I’ve only seen my sister once since the pandemic started: She lives in Missouri, and we had dinner together in June, back when it looked like we were gonna get through this quick, back when we thought it was all going to be OK. She has just two nephews, my sons, one of whom she saw at dinner in June but the other she hasn’t seen since Christmas 2019, two years ago, more than a quarter of his life ago. He has grown nearly a foot since then. He has learned how to ride a bike since then. He is an entirely different person than he was back then.
My sister is coming to Christmas this year, to see her nephews, to see her parents, to see her brother. Nothing, and sure not Omicron, is going to stop her.
The emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, on the surface, would seem to have changed the paradigm of the pandemic. For the first time since vaccines became a part of our lives, those who have done the right thing, gotten every shot they could when they could, no longer feel 100 percent protected from contracting Covid-19. It never left our lives, but for a while, a good while, you could pretend that it had. That’s a switch that even Delta — which by all accounts appears to be more severe — didn’t flip. Delta represented “the pandemic of the unvaccinated.” Omicron can hit anybody, even if you’ve been vaccinated. (Though it’s still less likely.)
But that vaccine status still makes a huge difference, and I suspect, a definitive one. For the first time since vaccines hit, most people who have been vaccinated are acting like those who haven’t been vaccinated: They’re going on with their lives like the pandemic is over, or at least over for them. They might be doing this for different reasons — the vaccinated are doing so because they feel protected and because they’re exhausted, the unvaccinated are doing so for their ever-growing variety of illogical and deranged reasons — but the end result is the same: They’re moving forward. Add those groups together, the vaccinated Over It people and the unvaccinated Never Gonna people, and you’ve got, I’d argue, the vast majority of the country. We…