Omicron Ba.4 and Ba.5

Since December 2019 I have been hyper-vigilant in following every single viral protocol and government mandate regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and its nonstop variants and subvariants. I’ve been glad to do so not just for my own health and safety, but also as a team-player in the ongoing war of national public health and safety for all Americans. Having played team sports all my life, I completely understand why it must be done; been doing it for over two years. I promote the basic ideals of being a TEAM player in this war against an invisible enemy.

For me it was a no brainer, right? January 21, 2020 that (invisible) enemy known as COVID-19 from Wuhan, China, was quickly spreading. There was no doubt whatsoever it was going to hit our U.S. ports of entry. Like a scourge never before seen in human history it was going to hit our shores, invade the lungs and bodies of millions upon millions of Americans and kill them—1,064,207 dead and counting. And as predicted, that’s exactly what happened. It still continues killing today and for the foreseeable future.

On August 8th, 2022, over two years later in my fight against COVID, I lost my undefeated battle-record following a trip to Dallas, TX for my best friend’s Celebration of Life ceremonial funeral. With triple-digit temperatures in DFW and across most of the state of Texas during the entire month of July and into August, everybody was staying inside with A/C for any event or gathering between 10am and 10pm. This included my good friend’s ceremony. No one, not a single person there was wearing any mask or social-distancing despite the COVID Omicron subvariants Ba.4 and Ba.5 spreading like wildfire throughout the entire state.

This general apathy was true again Sunday night, August 7th, at one of my all-time favorite Goth Industrial Steampunk EBM dance clubs, The Church. No masks anywhere, no social-distancing in the least. By Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 9th–10th, I had every single Omicron Ba.4 or 5 symptom listed and I tested positive Wednesday morning. I was deathly ill by then. That night I had hallucinations in my terribly uncomfortable, broken sleep. By that point in time I had already exposed my Mom and sister to the virus over 2 1⁄2 days.

Three days later while I was in my 7-10 day isolation, Mom tested positive. Only by the slimmest, luckiest margins my sister never tested positive the four days she was with us indoors helping with meals and basic daily tasks. Remarkable actually.

This past Tuesday, the 16th, I finally tested negative and came out of my quarantine. I really had no choice because the last four days my sister could no longer come inside with us. The house was a mess, especially the kitchen due to Mom’s fatigue and severe dementia. I had to hit the ground running. Many daily tasks and chores had gone undone for over a week. Mom ends her quarantine this Saturday, Aug. 20th, if she tests negative tomorrow.

Unfortunately, I still have a runny nose presently, mucus-phlegm congestion in my throat and chest, persistent coughing, along with fatigue after extended periods of physical exertion. Our family PPO practitioner has informed me that I cannot get reinfected by the same subvariant I gave to Mom. However, I can indeed get reinfected by any other variants and subvariants of COVID. Each reinfection raises my risks of long-term or permanent health problems with other bodily organs and systems. He also informed me that symptoms can persist for weeks or months after quarantine, possibly (but rarely) for the rest of my life. 😔 I can say this with utter conviction, breathing is more difficult now 3-4 days after testing negative.

I do not wish this virus on anyone. It is terrible and possibly damages your health systems long-term. And myself, Mom, and my sister, we are all fully vaccinated (2 doses) and fully boostered (2 more doses) and absolutely plan to get boostered next month for the Omicron subvariants. I can’t imagine what HELL we would’ve experienced had Mom and I not been maximally protected by those four Pfizer and Moderna shots.

Recently, most all U.S. states have dropped their entire COVID mandates and protocols despite the skyrocketing cases of Omicron infections across the nation. This is a massive mistake! Furthermore, I tried diligently to report my COVID infection as well as my Mom’s, but could not do so. Why? State governments now require that only clinically approved testing sites can report new cases to the county and state agencies, like the CDC. There are likely hundreds or thousands of new cases/infections not being reported because like us, we tested with At Home Antigen Test Kits. These positive results are not accepted by county and state databases. Hence, if your county health center reports for example only 10 new cases in a day or 23 new cases in a week, it is very wise to add maybe 15-20 more cases on top of that… give or take 50 more infected people. 🙄🤦‍♂️ That’s just a random guess on my part given our small populated area/county here in Kerrville. If you reside in a large metropolitan area, it’s wise to add a lot more cases to what public agencies report. Believe me, their numbers are far too low!

This biological war is by no means over, it’s not even in decline. As long as all of us refuse to declare war on COVID by abiding by protocols and mandates, wear masks, social-distance, stay away from large indoor crowds, and test, test, test… this deadly virus will just keep morphing into smarter, stronger new variants and subvariants. That’s simple cytology and biology folks.

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33 thoughts on “Omicron Ba.4 and Ba.5

  1. Glad to read you are out of the poo, Mr. D, if not completely in the clear.
    Protocols are non existent here as well, but when we go out we still mask up and sanitize everything we bring home.
    I have no idea if the infection rate is still climbing, or the death toll for that matter.
    I stopped reading state LMs too as it became too depressing.
    We insist our two staff mask up when inside. One grumbled a bit but we made it plain, don’t like it , go home!
    I am not sure when we will feel fully safe once more, but we simply cannot afford to become sick, health and business-wise.
    Be careful… Be safe.
    Doug.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Many thanks Doug. I suspect by next week we will be much closer to 90% – 100%; at least that’s my hope. 🤞 Today my runny nose has been a dayum river almost. Grrrrrr. This “poo” is really annoying.

      You all stick to your guns about protocols and safety! It is abundantly clear that these variants and subvariants turn themselves into higher & higher transmissible, vaxx-avoidable viruses as long as we humans keep giving them hosts and plenty of time to infect new hosts exponentially. I can’t fathom what is so difficult to comprehend in these cytological, biological processes—something I learned in high school and under-grad biology classes. Go figure. 🤦‍♂️

      What’s going on with Klopp and your Reds!? I’m a bit shocked they have no wins, just two draws against weaker clubs! 😯 And I was disappointed in Darwin Núñez’s red Monday. There was no excuse at all for losing his cool in such a tight match! 🤨 Hope that’s not a sign of performances to come from him.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay, I’ll be the stick in the mud.

    No one, not a single person there was wearing any mask or social-distancing despite the COVID Omicron subvariants Ba.4 and Ba.5 spreading like wildfire throughout the entire state.

    Omicron is well below 5 microns in size, some reports >1. N95s – not surgical or cloth masks – are the ONLY mask that filters out aerosols like SARS and even then what this means is that breathing infected air for 10 minutes wearing an air tight sealed N95 mask will reduce the likelihood of becoming infected through the mouth and nose starting at 95% and going to zero after 10 minutes. Your eyes, however are wide open receptors.

    But, hey, almost no one understands this. They just believe masks offer protection FROM getting COVID. Nu uh.

    Masking reduces the size of the aerosol cloud you AS AN INFECTED PERSON produce. That cloud of respiration, however, will have the same number of viruses… just in a smaller space, some trapped temporarily inside the mask. But because your exhalation has high humidity, clumps of virus carried by droplets will get trapped in the mask… until the droplet evaporates… usually within 5 seconds and then these more concentrated virus will aerosolize. That RAISES the concentration level of aerosolized virus around a mask wearing infected individual.

    So, yes, there is some reason for people WHO ARE INFECTED to wear the mask as a very temporary protection on behalf of others and for a very short time. But masking itself even with an N95 is basically a useless protection except for a short burst of duration where air is shared and even then only with the eyes also equivalently sealed. Anything other than very short exposure window most masking is really just performative, a way to signal one’s pandemic virtue. But it breeds anger and resentment far, far more effectively than it offers any meaningful protection.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Not being a stick in the mud at all Tildeb. Your comment is packed with exceptional true information. Your info on aerosol particles I KNOW personally is spot-on! Thank you Sir. I hadn’t really thought a whole lot about my EYES 👁️👁️ being prime receptors. Ugh. 😒 But you are right.

      I knew full well I was taking a big chance on contracting Omicron at both indoor locations, the last one dancing over four hours around/in a crowd on the dance-floor, breathing heavy, etc, but it never crossed my mind about my eyes. Sheesh.

      Anything other than very short exposure window most masking is really just performative, a way to signal one’s pandemic virtue.

      At this point in time Tildeb, I feel incredibly hopeless 😔 in protecting myself 99%–100% even through future variants & subvariants that I know are absolutely coming… probably indefinitely. I often ask myself What’s the point if very, very few people around me don’t give a shit? Am I to go back into severe, anti-social lockdown for ANOTHER two plus years as I did between January 2020 until this past April/May 2022? Am I to be forced into being a total hermit?

      Anyway, great comment Tildeb. Many thanks Sir. ❤️

      Like

      • Prof, I still think each of us should do what we think is best based on each of us assessing our personal risk. Based on my age and cohort and comorbidities, I will do this and that but not this other stuff. In this situation I will wear a N95 without eye protection but won’t in that. In other words, all we can is what we can do. We can’t control others and we can’t impose our risk assessment on them and expect them to submit. For example, there’s good evidence emerging that post menopausal women diagnosed once upon a time with endometriosis are at an increased risk for a return to teenage style periods with excruciating pain lasting between 3 days and 2 weeks with the Pfizer booster. Not Moderna, but no studies on Moderna have been done. Just a bunch of family docs sharing information. No one knows how widespread, how common, how rare. But we do have an association that may be a correlation or it may be causal. And this return to painful periods is not to be dismissed when it basically renders the individual home bound. Every month. Month after month. And with nothing but deafening silence from the medical, research, and infectious disease specialists. So who am I to condemn some older woman if she chooses to not get a booster?

        I think medical stuff like this is quite personal and so I extend that outwards so that I’m not getting disappointed when others don’t live up to my standards. And the reason for this is because unlike beta and delta, vaccination does not protect anyone from getting COVID. It greatly reduces on average the severity of symptoms. That’s it. That’s what we have to work with.

        So distancing is certainly a good idea to protect one’s self to reduce the risk. That’s fine. It doesn’t eliminate it but it decreases the likelihood that risk represents. Same with masking; it helps slightly in the short term but increases it in fairly short time. That’s a consideration, too. And for many of us we will take it. But, for many of us, we won’t because getting back to engaging with life AS IT IS – risks and all – is of greater importance and benefit to health overall than avoiding COVID risks and living in a bubble world. And, let’s be clear, for many younger people this accurately reflects reality whereas for old folk, especially with comorbidities, the baseline risk is much higher regardless.

        I’m sorry to hear you got COVID, but nothing elevates your reduction of risk for COVID more than getting it now and coming through it. I suspect you’re going to be fine and hope that you will reduce your own angst by accepting that others may have a different opinion for reasons you may or may not even know.

        In other words, chill bro! So you got COVID? You’ve met the enemy now, suffered the onslaught, and now he is yours!

        Liked by 1 person

        • We can’t control others and we can’t impose our risk assessment on them and expect them to submit.

          I agree with most all you’ve stated, however, I must respectfully squabble with you a bit on the above part. My “angst” has much to do with my own personal upbringing—as a Team-player—from my USMC Dad and his family values. And I don’t think my “TEAM” mentality is too different or opposed to the necessary applied concept of Public Health & Safety.

          For example, there are very good reasons why our traffic laws have school-zones and speed limits on streets and highways. There are very logical, reasonable justifications for Insurance Underwriters to determine Risk versus Coverage (and payout) in various life activities or job occupations, e.g. combat deployments, or high-wire walkers, loggers, oil-derrick workers, or aircraft pilots/engineers. There are excellent Team-oriented, civic laws and virtues that greatly benefit the whole of society. Understanding these factors and variables are most often what directly cause my “angst” toward others who don’t give a shit about others and the greater good. I feel I’m justified in my defense of that posture. 🙂

          Now, I fully realize that in present-day America, we’ve drifted far from the values my parents and grandparents cherished about democracy by, maintained, and vigilantly protected for the greater good. E Pluribus Unum. 😁

          With the exception of that one point/concept, I otherwise agree wholeheartedly with you Sir.

          Like

          • Prof, you outline the argument for vaccination nicely regarding beta and delta where transmission can be interrupted by people getting the shot. But that’s not the reality for omicron.

            Omicron is not stopped or even interrupted by vaccination; in fact, vaccinated people NOW pose far more of a threat to the unvaccinated as the unvaccinated once did to the vaccinated in the earlier SARS versions. Notice what is missing to make the comparison complete? The same level of vilification from the vulnerable to ‘those who don’t care’ about being a threat! Interesting, huh?

            Liked by 1 person

          • And yet by federal policy we are still inflicting mask mandates based on… not good evidence but contrary to it. This is a good example. The level of protection is almost zero. The level of harm is almost 100%. We know masking negatively affects a veritable host of developmental milestones in young children. But why should we allow reality to interfere with a preferred narrative?

            Liked by 1 person

            • I realize that the war on COVID has changed significantly now… thanks in part to widespread indifference, ignorance, and willful denial. This is certainly true. Your information is certainly spot-on, I won’t argue that. And so as a consequence, even the Greater Greater Good now are suffering and at risk equally with the willful lethargy.

              But why should we allow reality to interfere with a preferred narrative?

              Boy… is THAT so very true! In SO MANY ways that is again spot-on Tildeb, from any angle. 👍🏻

              Like

  3. Pingback: Omicron Ba.4 and Ba.5 | The Professor’s Convatorium | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

    • Thank you very much John. At least down there in Rio de Janeiro (if you guys are still there?) most Brazilians cannot ever forget how hard deaths hit them in the first 12-18 months of the pandemic, eh? Lessons learned.

      Sadly, I have no confidence today that the human race has any serious desire to eradicate this awful virus. Too many just don’t care if we keep allowing it over time/months to perpetually morph into smarter, stronger immune-resistant variants and subvariants. The microbiology, cytology, virology, and epidemiology is NOT overly complicated to understand and combat the virus. It’s just not. An 8th-grader can grasp it! 😔

      But it may very well be too late now given Omicron’s potency.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am so so sorry that you got the virus after all the precautions you have taken for over two years now! I am glad you’re out of the woods for now, and am concerned for your mom, given her age and other health issues. Keeping my fingers crossed for you both, my friend! Please keep us posted!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was very deflating Jill. Perhaps the positive way to spin my infection is that I held it off for well over 2-yrs until effective vaccines and boosters came out. That’s a pretty damn good combat record, right? 😉

      Mom appears to have had a much milder version of Ba.5 than I had. She has surprised me how well she’s doing. She seems to have a LOT more energy than I could ever muster! Hah! But then, Mom does come from that “Greatest Generation” of Americans who endured for 10-yrs the Great Depression followed by harsh rationing during the essentially 5-yrs of World War II. Her fight and resilience always astonishes me.

      Yes, fingers crossed though. An invisible enemy is always always more lethal/damaging than those seen and identified, huh?

      Thank you Jill for your kind comment. ❣️

      Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed it is a good combat record! And I’m just glad you’re getting better. And, it’s good that your mom had a milder case, else she would likely have ended up in the hospital, making matters even harder for you! Yes, her generation were raised to be tough … had to be.

        Take care, Prof! We need you!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Just a bit of personal stuff …

    My other-half and I both experienced a re-occurrence of COVID (Omicron) at the end of June and first of July. Due to his personal health issues, he suffered more than me and has had some residual effects — but overall, it wasn’t near as bad as what we suffered way back in January 2019 before COVID had been “identified.”

    As for mask-wearing … in this instance, I tend to agree with tildeb. I do think when COVID first made its grand entrance that masks definitely helped — and the vaccines certainly played a major role. However, I’m not so sure the masks are all that preventive when it comes to the variants. Plus the fact that now that the BIG danger has (somewhat) passed, people are VERY careless with mask-wearing so one wonders if they really are doing much.

    But I’m no virologist or any other scientist, so …

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh my, Nan do you and your hubby/partner feel you contracted COVID in January 2019!? I mean that’s reasonable given the fact you guys live in Oregon.

      Yeah, given the harsh reality that our eye-ducts are prime receptors now for the 5-micron sized (or smaller?) Omicron variant and subvariants, along with even tinier aerosol particles(?) in the near future(?), we’ve likely reached and surpassed the “tipping point” of protecting ourselves much like we’re reaching—or have reached(?)—the tipping point with Climate Change.

      Then again, I’ve never been a full-blown proponent of mankind’s (false sense of) superior brilliance/intelligence on Earth as the planet’s most superior species. I’m a realist first, optimist second. Hell, the long established fact is… even ants do vastly better with their Superorganism behavior and Eusociality over the last 160-million years! Far far longer than Homo sapiens could ever hope for. That’s undisputed. So I agree with you here Nan and with Tildeb.

      Liked by 1 person

      • There is good reason to think there will be a SARS vaccine in the not too distant future. Sure, the variant omicron has dozens of subvariants already so it may seem like SARS will be a never ending stream for variants of concern and this has truth in it. But so does the common cold. It’s all about virulence and so the corona family just keeps churning out yet another aerosolized virus humans are susceptible to. So the vaccine that matters isn’t so much one that addresses this variant or that, this subvariant or that one. The vaccine that truly matters is against the corona shape itself… regardless of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of later mutations. And that”s what’s in the works. I have great confidence this will happen in the next few years, maybe (overly optimistic I suspect) even in single digit months. That’s where biotech is now. And it’s truly amazing tech. We live in such interesting times! When challenges and problems are great, opportunity and adventure loom even larger.

        Liked by 2 people

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