Ok. I've got it. The Coronavirus.
I recently visited Banff, Canada with family, Some wore masks, I did not. For a picnic lunch one day we went shopping at a grocery store. While walking down an aisle behind a woman, she suddenly sneezed and did not cover her nose. I didn't think much about it. I've had every available vaccine and the government says the pandemic is over. Right?
Turns out people are still getting sick. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of August 16, 2023, there are still 3,446 cases occurring weekly world-wide and 41 deaths weekly. In the big picture of things, what's a few thousand versus 8 billion souls alive today (according to U.N. estimates). It depends a lot on where you are. In Banff, there were people from all over the world, drawn by the natural beauty and the fact that it is not the U.S.
According to the Washington Post (W.P.), which states that while the Omicron variant is still the most prevalent due to its ability to spread, there's a new mutation in town - BA.2.86. This new variant is the result of multiple mutations providing it the ability to break through the body's defenses and infect cells very effectively. The current detection tests are still effective in identifying an infection, but the new variant can circumvent the defenses created by vaccinations or previous infection.
At the moment, only 13 cases attributed to BA.2.86 have been found world-wide, and only 3 in the U.S. Due to the "end of the pandemic", resources for detecting the variant types have begun to be withdrawn. Whether this new variant creates another surge remains to be seen. Just fasten your seat belts and be ready for anything. Including uncovered sneezes.