For a few moments over the weekend, it felt entirely like a normal July 4th holiday. Going to a picnic. Watching fireworks. Grilling burgers and hot dogs. And for me, losing a few golf balls out on the course.
In Connecticut, reported cases of COVID are now up 50 percent in the last two weeks.
And, according to some medical experts, this new subvariant, BA.5 (can’t we have better names for variants at this point, like hurricanes?) is now the “worst version of the virus that we’ve seen. It takes immune escape, already extensive, to the next level, and, as a function of that, enhanced transmissibility, well beyond Omicron … and other Omicron family variants that we’ve seen…”
So much for another Hot Vax Summer.
But before you call me out for ruining your fun vacation plans, I’ll actually suggest that the opposite is happening.
Judging by the calls and e-mails that we’re receiving at our office (or frankly, the lack thereof), employers seem to have largely moved on from the crisis-phase of this pandemic. That’s not to say that they aren’t having manage certain incidents; but most employers seem to have figured out a playbook that works for them at the moment.
And a result, employees seem to have gotten the clue that vacations that were once postponed, ought to be taken now and if you get COVID, well, so be it.
For employers, this doesn’t mean we’re all out of the woods. It’s hard to appreciate just out contagious this new subvariant is, particularly because it can circumvent some of the protection from vaccines. Just how sick employees will get from this new subvariant seems to vary widely, as do the risks of “Long Covid“. Employers are going to have to manage a new wave of paid time off requests and will have to consider reimplementing mask mandates in limited instances — no matter how unpopular they are.
But it will be interesting to see if we can ride out this next wave that is on the upswing without falling back on the usual playbook.
We may be done with the pandemic, but it’s become clear this pandemic is (still) not done with us.