The Never-ending January 2021

2021 has officially joined 2020 for continuing to suck. January plods on and on, but eventually, it too must pass. Plans for 2021? Anyone?

The word of the month, (remind me to create an index of pandemic words), has become “variant”. As in, the novel coronavirus (remember when we called it that?) has been, gasp, mutating. Mutating into variants, variants that may be worse than our familiar virus, like the mutant monsters of the horror movies that are worse than the regular monsters. Only now, we are living in our own horror movie – the mutations have made the virus more transmissible, maybe more deadly, maybe less resistant to the vaccines that we’re told are on the way! Well, just calm down and remember some high school science (if you had a good curriculum.) All viruses “mutate”. In fact, if you think about it, even people are “mutants”, that is, each of us inherits unique combinations of our DNA from our (mutant-themselves) parents, and some of it did and will mutate before we ourselves continue the circle of life and perhaps procreate future little mutant versions. The question is: what are the variations in characteristics of the mutations? Most of them are harmless, and the only ones to really catch fire in their gene pool are those that help the mutator procreate. Hmm. So it makes sense to me that in our battle with the novel coronavirus that it’s fighting back and becoming easier to transmit. Deadlier? That remains to be seen, as if the virus kills off too many of its hosts, it too will suffer. I’m no scientist, but I can’t be the only one to have imagined this more hopeful scenario, can I?

Enough lay-person science followed for now, carry on. (The curious among you may wish to follow up with extra-credit research.)

As January ends, the horrible case and death numbers in my region are still high, but cooling, even dropping. Things might be improving, although the news media will quickly counter with the cloud in the silver lining. I still watch too much news. “Vaccines delayed!” “Governor-General Resigns!” “Mental Health Worries!” As for my own plans that got me through the month? And next month? Can’t complain. The weather has been typical for mid-winter in Quebec, but I have the right gear to go for walks outside every day. I walk a lot.

Now, what will February have in store for us?

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