More people are suddenly going down with “flu” again. “Flu” is the layperson’s catchall term for any respiratory tract infection, but of course, what they’ve got isn’t influenza, despite the nomenclature. Influenza is a seasonal infection, and our influenza season ended way back in July:

And indeed, it’s unusual to have so many people ill with respiratory tract infections at this time of year – remember that we’re in the middle of summer down here in the Southern Hemisphere. Of course, there are end of year gatherings and social events which assist in spreading the bugs around, but the fresh air and sunshine have always been enough in previous years to prevent these sort of infections. And yet, everyone knows someone who is sick. It sounds almost like the 2020 Covid days.

So what on earth could it be?

Well, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s almost certainly Covid.

Worldwide, poo studies are showing huge amounts of virus (Covid) RNA in wastewater systems, meaning that there are huge numbers of viruses (Covid) in the community. And using a whimsical font to title the graphs doesn’t make it any better.

Look at that: even in Western Australia, which, like us, is supposed to be safe from those winter illnesses right now.

There are two important points to make here. Firstly, that things have moved on a bit since the heady earlier days of Covid. Thankfully, at the moment, there seem to be fewer hospitalisations and fewer deaths from these latest variants. Although numbers of Covid-19 hospitalisations are suddenly rising in places like Singapore and the UK:

And even if it’s not killing you, that certainly doesn’t mean that it’s not capable of making you feel like death for a week at a time.

Secondly, these wastewater tests are our best estimate at what’s going on with Covid in the community, because there’s basically no testing being done on patients with respiratory illness anymore. Why would you spend R1000 on a test when it’s not going to alter the treatment of the patient anyway?

There’s also been a change in symptoms with the new variants. Sure, there’s still the crippling fatigue, breathlessness and general viral nastiness, but while taste and smell seem unaffected – two of the staples of Covid diagnosis first time around – very sore throats seem to be a regular symptom, and even gastrointestinal symptoms are being reported.

It’s also worth noting that we’re a tourist mecca at this time of year, indeed maybe even more so than ever before, so there’s every chance that some people will be bringing their Northern hemisphere Covid into the country with them.

And while there are only a few wastewater stations reporting HIGH levels of Covid RNA at the moment, it’s interesting (but perhaps nothing more than that) that the Cape Town Airport station is one that has suddenly picked up a little over the last few weeks.

After all, especially with those gastro symptoms, what’s the first thing you might want to do as soon as you get off a 12 hour flight? Hmm. Exactly.

Basically, what I’m saying here is that [SHOCK!!] Covid hasn’t gone away. Nor has it yet become a predictable, seasonal virus like dear old Influenza. The latest variants are still very unpleasant and could still be dangerous in elderly or vulnerable patients.

Still best then to exercise caution, not engage in too much mistletoe action and make sure that your vaccinations are up to date (much easier said than done in SA, let me tell you). And, if you are feeling sick, choose to be sensible and respectful and stay away from the Christmas parties and my braai this evening.

Get well soon. Happy holidays.

Warning lights

This was me this morning (well, apart from the “really fast” bit), waking up after my first gym session in 3 weeks.

But yesterday went well, and so I did the same in the heat again this morning in an attempt to reinforce some sort of dominance over what is left of my musculature. Managing the post-Covid tachycardia carefully (several emergency phone calls would have been made if I hadn’t switched that feature on my watch off), I eventually managed a few decent uphill kilometres on the static bike and several (or more) weights. And then into the pool for a desperately needed cool down on what is definitely the hottest day of the summer season thus far.

And it all feels ok. A bit hurty, but good hurty, rather than damaged hurty. Tomorrow morning will be another test, but I’m pleasantly surprised at how well things have gone thus far.

Football next Tuesday is the aim, but that seems quite a long way off at the moment.
Still – let’s see. Onward and upward.

I need to get going

A mildly sniffly nose, a slight cough and the occasional headache are all that remain of my recent Covid infection. And if that doesn’t sound too bad, it’s because it’s really not.


Sadly, exercise is still a bit of a bridge too far, and because of the otherwise very mild symptoms, that’s really annoying. A gentle 2km stroll along the prom in Sea Point yesterday exhausted me, which really shouldn’t be the case. I was in bed by 8:30pm. Again.

Look, I’m already far further on than back in 2021, but it’s so frustrating that I’m breathless after walking up a flight of stairs, and heavy-legged after a short walk. I should be out on the mountain today, doing an easy hike with friends, but given yesterday’s experience, it was always going to be a non-starter.

I’m mindful that each week I miss is going to take several (or more) weeks to recover, and that that ratio is only going to increase the longer I leave it, but the thought of even getting on a bike or going for a run is just beyond me at the moment. Legs don’t work.

The fightback needs to begin soon.

Just not today.

Not what I was going to do

I had – I still have – a plan for a “proper” post about politics. But wow. While I’m on the mend from the nastier symptoms of that virus, the brain fog, the breathlessness and the fatigue.

It’s really draining and it’s not prompting me to get involved with anything serious or requiring thought this afternoon. (Breathlessness was not a factor here.)

Do narcoleptics feel tired all the time? Or is it just an “I feel fine zzzzzz” thing? I ask because I am constantly on the cusp of falling asleep today. And the dangers are real: a comfortable couch at the piano lesson. The subdued lighting at tonight’s dodgeball practice.

These things don’t help…

So the political post will wait for another day. Sadly, it’s not time sensitive: politics isn’t going anywhere.

Me? I’m going to bed.