Monday, Aug. 29, 2022

We’re approaching our third Labor Day of the pandemic (or post-pandemic, your choice) era. So far I haven’t noticed much anticipatory surge panic. Do you remember Labor Day 2020? Labor Day meant danger: people on crowded beaches, schools closed, colleges on Zoom, sports seasons and theater seasons cancelled. And of course Labor Day is the gateway to the fall and winter holiday seasons.

Every Labor Day finds us in a different place:

Variants in California, covid19.ca.gov, Aug. 26, 2022

  1. Sept. 7, 2020: Six months after the “novel coronavirus” (as they called it then) showed up, masking and isolation were our only defense. The Los Angeles Times (“Don’t Relapse This Labor Day,” Sept. 4, 2020) reminded us to be careful. Around Memorial Day, businesses were opening up, people were going out, only to have a surge in mid-July filling the hospitals again. To make matters worse, record-breaking heat was forecast in Southern California with renewed risk of power outages.
  2. Sept. 6, 2021: Nine months of vaccinations and many more COVID infections later: “L.A. avoided Labor Day surge,” read the L.A. Times headline on Sept. 27. The first vaccines had been approved in December, 2020, making 2021 the year of mass vaccination. By Sept. 27, about 60.4 % of L.A. County residents had been fully vaccinated. All of the vaccines had undergone clinical trials when the original strain was in circulation. Heat wave? Of course.
  3. Sept. 5, 2022: For the first time, a bivalent vaccine has been developed specifically targeting two of the current Omicron variants as well as the original strain. It may even be released before Labor Day. And, record-breaking heat is making headlines again.
Surges in California, covid19.ca.gov, Aug. 26, 2022

Now the big question is: should you get the new bivalent vaccine?

The answer is going to depend on a number of factors, including your age, health conditions, and current immune status. Do some reading and ask your doctor. There is no “one rule fits all” for this decision.

For example, I had the two vaccine series (Feb. and Mar. 2021) and then a booster (Oct. 2021). I came down with COVID-19 in June 2022. That should have provided another (probably Omicron) boost. After reading the articles below, I think I’ll wait six months, and get the bivalent vaccine in January, just to get the most out of each boost my immune system gets. But it’s quite possible that we will learn something between now and January that will change my thinking on this.

I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying Labor Day Weekend at Lake Tahoe, my first since 2019, so my next post may be late or loaded with vacation photos or both. Have a great holiday, everybody!

Tahoe, Labor Day, 2015

Today’s Notable Headlines

“Q&A: The new COVID vaccine booster is coming. Should you get it?,” The Mercury News, Aug. 26, 2022. https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/08/26/qa-the-new-covid-vaccine-booster-is-coming-should-you-get-it/

“Heat wave scorches Pacific Northwest, echoing brutal 2021 stretch,” NBC News, July 29, 2022, https://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/heat-wave-scorches-pacific-northwest-echoing-brutal-2021-stretch-rcna40491

“A Simple Rule for Planning Your Fall Booster Shot,” The Atlantic, Aug. 27, 2022. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2022/08/fall-covid-vaccine-new-booster-shot-omicron/671265/

“Intense, prolonged heat wave set to roast the West,” AccuWeather, Aug. 29, 2022. https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-forecasts/intense-prolonged-heat-wave-set-to-begin-in-the-west/1238270

Additional Sources

Variants in California, COVID19.CA.GOV, Aug. 26, 2022, https://covid19.ca.gov/variants/#in-california

“CDC Fall Vaccination Operational Planning Guide – Information for the Fall Vaccine Campaign,
Including Upcoming Bivalent COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Doses” CDC, Aug. 16, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/downloads/cdc-fall-vaccination-operational-planning-guide.pdf

“Don’t relapse this Labor Day,” Los Angeles Times, Sept. 4, 2020. (archival)

“L.A. avoided Labor Day surge,” Los Angeles Times, Sept. 27, 2021. (archival)

Why am I doing this?

The coronavirus pandemic is a classic watershed historical event. People will be referring to “before the pandemic” or “after the pandemic” for decades to come. Since March 11, 2020, this blog has examined the modern pandemic experience, drawing on my background as a medical technologist, a historian, and an ordinary person living through an extraordinary world crisis. My sources, both primary and secondary, are documented with links for easy reference.

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