March 13, 2023

I still check in on the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 dashboard from time to time (but not at the twice-daily frequency I used to) and when I went to do that yesterday, I saw this message:

JHU has stopped collecting data as of 03 / 10 / 2023
After three years of around-the-clock tracking of COVID-19 data from around the world, Johns Hopkins has discontinued the Coronavirus Resource Center’s operations. The site’s two raw data repositories will remain accessible for information collected from 1/22/20 to 3/10/23 on cases, deaths, vaccines, testing and demographics.

Three years ago today we were celebrating Nephew B’s 2nd birthday and receiving texts that various places were shutting down for two weeks. Two weeks. How could we have imagined what was to come?

covid tests with my office supplies
Four boxes of covid tests living with my office supplies. I use them more than I use the stapler.

Did I know I’d be crying every day for over a year until my loved ones received vaccines that, while it didn’t prevent COVID-19, kept our asses out of the hospital when it did come for us? Nope. But I did know it was going to be worse than many thought.

Would I know that the USA would be filled with the ugliest people who behaved like selfish children and to this day continue to spread misinformation about the origins and severity of the virus? And did I know that there are people on the other side of the spectrum who, almost 2 years into a post-vaccine world, sit at home and chastise every move others make as we make our own risk assessments and move toward the ‘other side’ of the pandemic? Nope.

Is COVID-19 over? Even though it’s being declared endemic by some of the most cautious individuals and institutions, it’s still going to hang around and give us a tough time. But it’s no longer causing freezer trucks full of bodies and clogged health systems.

the mask stockpile
The boxed masks are regular surgical masks. To the left of the box is a plastic bag with my N95s (3M Aura) and some beige KF94s that I hate. The pink masks are KN95s that I don’t like because they look too obstetric. My preference is navy blue KN95s. These are all words I had no idea existed thirty-seven months ago.

I still mask up occasionally. Definitely on the train into Philadelphia and in small rooms with a large number of people. Never outside anymore. Not in large, open stores, but always if asked to. (Mammograms and biopsies while wearing a mask are terrible.) If I have a cold, I mask up to protect others.

I’m never going to be back in the office 5 days/week like I used to. And while I miss that terribly, I’m getting past it.

I’m sure some people will turn on Johns Hopkins because they’ve decided to stop tracking but not me. Three years in, this is a really good milestone.

And happy 5th birthday, Nephew B!

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