Why my Covid anxiety is spiking now, all these months later

I remember the moment distinctly. It was Thanksgiving. We  --  my wife, kids and mom --  were at my college friend's house with his family. Everyone was vaccinated and we had all taken rapid tests that morning to make sure it was safe to celebrate together. That was the last day I felt relatively unworried about Covid-19. (Looking back, I remember someone at that Thanksgiving dinner mentioning something about a "new variant," but the combination of turkey, mashed potatoes and, well, a few mixed drinks, made it easy to overlook.)
Since the word "Omicron" entered our lexicon, every day has been filled with varying levels of stress. Now, there's the near-daily note from the boys' school about students testing positive and the measures being put in place to contain it. There's the parade of headlines that suggest Omicron is on the march in Europe  --  and that a surge is inevitable in the United States. Meanwhile, there are the invites to Christmas parties and for the kids to attend sleepovers and play dates. And holiday trips. And a million and one other things that require my wife and me to play the role of public health experts, trying to weigh the proper balance between risk mitigation and, well, living our lives.
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