Featured, Phyllis Merriam, The Buzz

By Phyllis Merrimam

My worst fears about this pandemic were realized when “Things Fall Apart” (to borrow a title from the Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe) and my husband and I got covid. I’ve had some degree of anxiety throughout these two years. However, I believed we were practicing reasonable security about our safety. We never went anywhere without masks; dined-in one restaurant last September; went to masks-required Strand Theatre twice; went to small fully jabbed thrice family gatherings; I did the grocery shopping & vital errands to protect my health-compromised husband.

We gave up unsafe cloth masks over a year ago to wear KN95 masks. I never go inside anywhere unmasked. We got our vaccines and boosters as soon as they were available. Yet, Christmas Day we spent time with family, which we didn’t know included one, only twice-jabbed relative. Just shows how contagious omicron is.

And how arrogant I have to admit I felt that we were successful avoiding covid.

Today is the end of our quarantine. I was able to order hospital grade anti-viral disinfectant wipes PenBay Med. Ctr. uses, from Amazon, that I’m using after regular deep cleaning and then sanitize our home. It is quite a daunting but necessary task.

I discovered the Regeneron monoclonal antibodies infusions I and my husband received (casirivimab & imdevimab) do not work against omicron and were not developed for that variant. The monoclonal antibodies sotrovimab, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotech, work against omicron. However, there is a severe national shortage of sotrovimab. Neither the PCR nor the antigen tests can differentiate between the delta and omicron variants unless labs do genomic sequencing, which is not widely available. But not knowing which variant we had, we accept what infusion was available. Because omicron is so highly contagious, The CDC believes that is the variant most likely to cause the recent, ongoing national surge in cases and hospitalizations. Unvaccinated are significant contributors.

The first good snowstorm brought great joy to children sliding the hill into Snow Marine Park, the best sleding hill in Rockland.

New Word/New Condition: Flurona: Having the flu and covid simultaneously.

Had to drop off my car at Genuine Auto and walk round trip to pick it up again on the coldest day, so far, this winter. Bundled to the max made for a reasonably pleasant outing, if I could have ignored frozen nose hairs. Vehicles take no cautions when passing pedestrians who, at times, are forced to walk in the breakdown lane due to icy, slippery patches. The brilliant sun and some of the highest sea smoke I’ve seen enveloping The Head of the Bay was just spectacular.

This story was first seen in The Buzz newspaper, a media partner with Maine Coast TV. The Buzz printed version is distributed in Rockland Maine each week at these locations:

Good Tern Co-op • Dunkin’ Donuts • Jensen’s Pharmacy

Rock City Cafe • Southend Grocery

The Buzz online version is available each Friday at www.TheBuzz.me.

If you’d like to contribute an article to The Buzz or be an announcer or volunteer at WRFR.org, email steinberger@gwi.net or call Joe at 596-0731.

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