As I’ve mentioned in the past, pre-pandemic Viv and I had a tradition of seeing the Swans-Bombers game every year, including travelling up to Sydney when it was being played there. This week, Viv wanted to send an email to his boss asking for a day or two off to go to Sydney for the game in May, and I just had to be like, “Wait wait wait… let’s not get too hasty here.”

Truth be told, I’m still just not that comfortable with catching flights right now. Even though masks are still mandated on planes, I think, that’d still be an hour or more, crammed into a densely-packed metal tube breathing in constantly-recirculated air. I feel like 10% of the flights I’ve ever caught have resulted in me catching a cold (as in, I can remember this happening at least three times) and I just don’t love those odds when it comes to Covid. I especially don’t love the prospect of coming down with Covid in Sydney, and being forced to stay up there an extra week, paying Sydney accommodation and food delivery prices, in isolation.

If we drove to Sydney, like we did to Canberra in June last year, I think I’d be more willing to take the punt. It seems to me like flying is absolutely the riskiest part of a weekend away (certainly the football itself is all outdoors). But Canberra itself is a long enough drive (7 hours) and Sydney is about 50% longer, and petrol prices are through the roof right now, and overall I don’t blame Viv for not being keen on driving, lmao. The third option would be taking the train, but that’s also a long trip (11 hours) and I’m not sure it’s much safer than flying…

The Swans and the Bombers are playing a second match this year anyway, in Melbourne, in July. So we can still attend that one.

Honestly, I just feel like there’s a lot we still don’t know about Covid. The causes of Long Covid, and the chance that any one individual will develop it, still seem relatively unknown. How much the vaccine protects you against Long Covid still seems very up in the air as well. I have read that Covid infection can cause inflammatory damage to organs, like the heart and brain, even when the acute phase of the illness was still really mild. It also doesn’t seem like being infected once gives you great protection against being infected again even six months down the track, so like, even if you don’t get Long Covid the first time, and you don’t get Long Covid the second time, are you still going to have never got it after your tenth or your twentieth or your fiftieth infection…? It’s not like we’re “living with Covid” just for now, is it? At this point we’re going to be living with Covid for ever. I hate the thought of a world where Covid is just considered an everyday unremarkable risk, like catching a cold, at least if we can’t get on top of these long-term impacts.

And on that note it’s not all doom and gloom. Antiviral medications are starting to be approved which should help to prevent, or if not, to treat, Long Covid.1 At this stage it seems like Australia is still only using them for patients at high risk of needing hospitalisation in the acute phase, but with more research and more funding, it seems to me that this is reason to be optimistic that I won’t have to fear Long Covid forever. But as someone with a “pre-existing medical condition”, with loved ones with more serious pre-existing conditions, I still feel very cautious, for now 🙂 The spread of the BA.2 subvariant and the fact that we’re about to head into winter contribute to that caution, too.

Vivian is pretty disappointed that I don’t want to go to Sydney. He generally has a much higher risk tolerance than me anyway,2 and I think he was looking forward to going back to “life as normal” and going on trips again. I feel bad for disappointing him! And Sydney is a nice enough place to visit; it’s not like I don’t want to go… I just feel really uncomfortable with the idea of flying right now 😕 I’m not confident that we (as a society) have really got on top of the Long Covid situation yet – and nor am I even confident that economic or social support will be provided to those who get it, just like it’s already not provided adequately to many people with other disabilities. The situation is just not great.

  1. Have a great Twitter thread by someone more knowledgeable than I(external link) that I read on this topic. ↩︎

  2. Except that he always wants to be at the gate a minimum of two hours before any flight departures 😒 ↩︎