Is Arizona Prepared? What the New COVID-19 Variant Means for Arizona
As a collective, two years of COVID lockdowns changed our psyches. The changes altered our and our children's mental health.
Many of us battled physical health, as well. Some lost jobs and loved ones over the course of 2020 to 2021 and beyond. No one came through those two years unscathed.
Charged controversies arose over masks, vaccines, and shutdowns. Distance work and learning became the norm. Businesses came up with new strategies for working, and students adjusted to distance learning. Grocery stores and restaurants invented new pick-up and delivery options for customers.
COVID Key Words
Social distance. Six feet apart. Mask up. Plexiglass shields. Floor stickers. Zoom meetings. Zoom learning.
Some of the "artifacts" of the global pandemic are fading, but the mantras still echo in our heads like the whisps of a long nightmare.
We are fatigued. With our slow return to "normal" (tossing aside "the new normal" we all loathed), we were finally holding onto hope we had left the worst behind us.
We were told COVID is now part of the annular conversation, much as cold and flu season makes its way across the nation and the world. We are prepared for that.
Many are not prepared to return to the caustic debate that peppered the socially and politically charged conversations that surrounded all things COVID.
Is the New COVID-19 variant BA.2.86 in Arizona?
The new COVID-19 variant, BA.2.86 is making itself known. As of September 1st, the variant has been detected in five U.S. states, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia. Worldwide, Pirola, as this subvariant of omicron is being called, only has 26 reported cases.
Metallica recently rescheduled their Phoenix, Arizona concert when lead singer James Hetfield tested positive for COVID-19.
News broke the same weekend that the First Lady also tested positive for COVID. There were no reports that either had contracted the new Pirola strain, but this brings some imminent questions to Arizona:
- How bad will this strain be?
- Will Arizona tolerate more lockdowns?
- Will Arizona tolerate a return to mask requirements?
- Will Arizona tolerate another round of vaccine/booster mandates?
"A Beth Israel study...found that the immune response is robust against all variants — including BA.2.86 — after exposure to an XBB infection, which would likely include anyone who contracted COVID since December 2022."
While a variety of agencies are gearing up for the worst-case scenario, questions about whether the extreme measures taken as far back as 2020 will be necessary or tolerated will continue to arise in Arizona and the rest of the world.
What the New COVID-19 Variant Means for Arizona
What will the new COVID-19 variant mean for Arizona? From what we've seen on the various social networks, Arizona does not seem to be willing to return to the restrictive measures taken back in 2020.
In the beginning, we complied. We didn't know much about the virus, the spread, or the efficacy of masks and social distancing. The consensus now seems to be that we are smarter, much better informed, and far less willing to give up our freedoms for a second round.