Every group outing means another week of everyone having to do this
Every group outing means another week of everyone having to do this Geber86 / Getty Images

The University of Washington has confirmed two variations of COVID-19 have appeared in Washington, raising new concerns about strains that spread faster and are resistant to the vaccines.

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Here’s the short version of what you need to know: Continue staying away from other people as much as possible; keep wearing a mask when you leave the house; get vaccinated as soon as you can.

I know, I know, I know — nobody wants to hear this. Infections were going down, though still not as low as they need to be. We’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of a quarantine that we’d hoped at the time would be brief. It seemed like maybe we’d be able to go back to, you know, doing stuff soon.

But don’t give in. Not yet. Be strong. A coffee date, plane trip, or pup mosh is all it might take for the new variations to spread, and possibly even mutate into something far worse. Experts at UW say there could be another surge in April or May, so I hate to say it, but if you want to have a fun summer you’re going to have to have a boring spring. Or else things could get much worse.

So far, there have been seven variations of note, but only two have been found in Washington.

One of the variants found here was first identified in South Africa, and alarmingly, the vaccine is less effective against it — but the good news is that “less effective” doesn’t mean “not effective,” so getting the shot will still reduce your chances of coming down with severe symptoms. It’s not known whether this variation spreads more easily.

The other variation was first identified in the United Kingdom, and that one spreads faster. The vaccines appear to be as effective with this version as with the “old” version that it was designed for.

And there’s also a third version. This one was first found in Brazil, one of the other countries where leaders failed to take the deaths seriously, and hasn’t been detected in Washington yet — but it has shown up in Alaska. That version is different enough from the original that it’s possible you could be re-infected if you’ve already had the “old” version.

Oh and by the way, the Alaskan who tested positive ... reported that they’d eaten at a restaurant without a mask on. Sorry to vent, but oh my GODDDDDD you guys can’t you just WAIT a few more WEEKS so we don’t have to go through all this AGAIN??????? Sorry, it’s just — ugh. Just ugh. I hope that sandwich was worth it.

Anyway, if you do not want people to say “UGH” about you, please continue to stay home to the extent that you can. Remember, you’re not just “deciding for yourself” what level of risk you personally consider acceptable — every infection is an opportunity for billions of tiny viruses to jump from person to person, and worse, an opportunity for those viruses to mutate and create the next dangerous variation.

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Nobody wants to be the horrible disgusting nesting ground for the version of COVID that’s vaccine-resistant. If it helps you postpone your plans with other people, just imagine little toxic creatures scuttling through your veins, penetrating your cells with billions of tiny virus cocks, oozing mutated strains into your mouth like a phlegmy stranger.

That seems gross, right?

Yes. Yes it does. Spending time with other people right now is gross. Don’t do it.