Monday, August 1, 2022

When the curtain came up: The "End" of the Pandemic

The sign greeting us at our favorite cafe, June 30, 2021



I must have begun writing this post 20 times. Of course the pandemic has not ended - only the restrictions on the pandemic have been listed. 
The “end” of the pandemic is a goalpost that keeps moving back, but after several starts and stops, the end of restrictions is something I can finally document. 

First attempt I want to document was in June 2021. I wrote of it in my diary here:

“On June 30th Oregon opens back up. That means no masks, no social distancing, no capacity limits. It feels incredible. I am so excited. We have sacrificed so much, and like Camus [from The Plague] we are finally emerging from the walled village. It you had told me back in March 2020 that we would not 'open up' again until June 2021, I would have despaired, but now I have survived the 'long winter”'[Game of Thrones reference] and we are on the other end of it. I will travel this year to Mexico with my friends one day. I will go out to bars and clubs again. I will return to this life I love.”

Then on June 30th my family ventured out to our favorite café where we had not been in so long:

“This morning we walked to Good Coffee, not knowing what we would find. The COVID-19 restrictions lifted on June 30th - the official end to quarantine. No masks, no social distancing, no capacity limited. I didn’t know if Good Coffee would be any different, but it was. No one wore a mask inside. The indoor tables were open. Two dudes were sitting there on their laptops. We three sat at favorite table and ate croissants and scones. The bathroom was open, the plexiglass and 6-ft floor markers were gone. It felt like before, only better, because now I will never take it for granted. I will return to all my favorite cafes and restaurants and indulge in drinking lattes from a cup. I will love seeing strangers dressed up on the city streets. I will dress up too. Life, we are back. The pandemic is not over, other countries are still wrestling with high numbers and other states in the US are struggling with the delta variant from India. We don’t know how immune we will be for how long. But I wanted to capture here, for an eternal, the timeline of the end of quarantine in Portland, OR:
March 16, 2020 to June 30, 2021"

Unfortunately it was not to be. Masks came back on July 26, 2021 (my birthday) and then a summer wave of infections came, followed by another in winter. In Portland we didn’t go on lockdown again, but I know some countries did. It would be another 9 months for us before masks came off, in March. 

At the time of this writing, I am on a flight with no masks, though I have two in my carry-on just in case things are different in Europe. But I still face a risk of infection, and presently, if I test positive for COVID-19 I would be unable to enter the US – something I seriously fear. Is this the end? If not, when will it be? When will COVID-19 be something we no longer fear? 

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When the curtain came up: The "End" of the Pandemic

The sign greeting us at our favorite cafe, June 30, 2021 I must have begun writing this post 20 times. Of course the pandemic has not ended ...