It’s Sunday night, the first day of Daylight Savings Time so my body is having a hard time deciding how late it is. I’m boycotting the Grammys – I still haven’t forgiven them for giving song of the year to Killing Me Softly With His Song over American Pie in 1972 and it’s time for my biweekly update of the Accidental Plague Diaries. I have no idea what I’m going to write about this evening, but that hasn’t stopped me in the past. Something usually starts to take place as I let my fingers run over the keyboard.
The weather has been lovely and spring like here in Birmingham the last few days. Sunshine. The pastels on the trees are bursting forth in their usual sequence. Tulip magnolias two weeks ago, Bradford pears this last week. Flowering plums and cherrys, dogwoods, redbuds and gobs of wisteria still to come. It’s my favorite time of year hear. The flowers are lovely, it turns warm without being hot and the humidity has not yet crept into town. I tell people that if they want to visit, late March through early May is the time to do it. We’re not out of the winter woods yet though. There’s usually a cold snap that breaks our weather into first and second spring and it’s threatening to arrive this next week. I’m just hoping for good weather the second week of April when we perform Pirates of Penzance outdoors. The only other outdoor show I’ve done in town was Twelfth Night for Shakespeare in the Park in August and that was miserably hot and sweaty.
There has been very good news on the Covid front. The numbers of vaccines available nationally is greatly accelerating. Per the CDC, nearly 4.6 million people received a vaccine yesterday. That’s up from the record 1.6 million people last weekend. At this rate the administration’s goal of getting every adult American a vaccine who wants one by the first of May is likely to be met. If you haven’t gotten yours yet, it’s coming. Just stay on those lists. The percentage of people refusing vaccine, mainly for political reasons remains too high for the epidemiologist in me to be comfortable. I keep hoping a cerain ex-president, who was vaccinated himself in January, will publicly call for the vaccine as a step of atonement but I’m probably reaching too high.
The most concerning issue remains the mutation of the virus and the rise of variants. The majority are still covered by the extant vaccine although there are variants in South Africa and Brazil where this isn’t as clear and the last thing we need is a resistant variant winging its way around the world just as we’re starting to get our vaccination game together. The Astra Zeneca vaccine (not yet approved in the US) was considered one of the major hopes for poorer nations as it was inexpensive to manufacture and easy to store. There are reports out of Scandinavia of a number of serious post vaccine clotting disorders and it has been pulled in Norway. If this turns out to be a real issue, there’s going to be a problem. We tend to forget in the US that the pandemic is a global, not a local issue, and that solutions need to be global in order for transmission to cease.
We’re heading into the easter season. In my house growing up, easter was big for the egg hunts. The first one I remember was shortly after we moved into the house in which I did most of my growing up. I was three, nearly four, and still an only child when I came down on easter morning and was upset because I could only find two eggs. I complained vociferously to my mother who told me that the easter bunny had determined that I was getting smarter and that eggs wouldn’t be in plain sight anymore and I needed to be more diligent in my searching. I went back and figured out that the easter bunny had put eggs inside of things or behind books. Later easters often found us traveling, either out to the Washington coast or down to San Francisco to see my grandparents and back. Our family easter bunny was quite resourceful at creating egg hunts in cheap motels and vacant fields across the road from cheap motels.
I kept up egg hunts well into adult hood. I used to do them for Steve when we lived in Sacramento and, at one point in the mid 80s when I was still in med school, I invented a game for an easter brunch at a friend’s house called ‘Dr. Jekyll and Easter Bunny’ in which there was an egg hunt with good and bad eggs. The object was to gather good eggs into your basket and slip the bad eggs into other people’s baskets when they weren’t looking. I can still remember a bunch of adults tearing around a backyard to the strains of Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony as the game got under way. (Daniel James Cole I seem to remember you being there…) I haven’t done a good egg hunt in a while. I have a plan to remedy that this year.
In the meantime, onward with other projects, but always mask on hands washed and distanced (unless vaccinated and around small numbers of other vaccinated people according to the CDC).