MontClairVoyant: Seeing COVID with 2021 and 2022 Vision

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

In Montclair and elsewhere, COVID cases are soaring due to Omicron, many students might not immediately return to in-person learning next month due to Omicron, some businesses have temporarily closed due to Omicron, and testing sites are overwhelmed due to Omicron. What’s to blame for this sad series of events?

Sincerely,

Vincent Variant

Um…Omicron? And your asking a question makes today’s column another testing site, so this piece will either be rapid (just the four words “more news in Montclair”) or PCR (Painfully Copious Ramblings).


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

PCR it is. Superintendent Jonathan Ponds said December 28 that the plan is for our 11 public schools to reopen January 3, after winter break, with a continuation of in-person learning. Thoughts?

Sincerely,

Ocean’s 11 Sans Ocean

Worth a try, even though one or two weeks of remote instruction wouldn’t be bad as some students quarantine after family trips. I myself traveled from Upper Montclair to Montclair, and have the passport stamps to prove it.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

The district is also offering students free COVID tests today (December 30) at the high school and tomorrow (December 31) at the Wally Choice Community Center. Excellent idea?

Sincerely,

PCRs Are Not VCRs

Most excellent. I expect students will test either positive, negative, or Gryffindor.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Harry Potter’s Hogwarts house seems irrelevant. Speaking of schools, if you were young enough to be a Montclair student, in what subject would you most likely get an A?

Sincerely,

Not Grade Away

Lunch!

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Another recent news event is the latest every-decade redistricting. Your thoughts about the new 11th District including more of Montclair?

Sincerely,

Poll Vault

That will certainly improve the reelection chances of U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill, the Montclair-based centrist Democrat. I’d comment on her victory odds for 2022 if odds existed in even-numbered years.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

But odd columnists do. Meanwhile, the 10th District’s shrinking Montclair portion will now only include what’s approximately the Fourth Ward. Comment?

Sincerely,

Ch-ch-ch-Changes

With Nishuane Pool still in the 10th, I’m hoping voting machines are waterproof.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

The 10th District is of course represented by another centrist Democrat, Donald Payne Jr., who’s being challenged by impressive young progressive Imani Oakley. She was raised in…

Sincerely,

Local Geographic

…Montclair! Perhaps some readers of this column have heard of that town.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Any other thoughts about New Jersey’s redistricting?

Sincerely,

Congressional Confessional

Part of me wonders if some of it involves gerrymandering, and part of me wishes to see all of Montclair in one congressional realm: the 10.5th District!

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

How do you feel about Montclair’s new Wellmont Arts Plaza being recognized as a “Great Public Space” by the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planners Association?

Sincerely,

WAP Is Tapped

Mixed feelings. It IS a fairly nice space, but many new apartment units abutting it are super-pricey and the overall project doesn’t have as much of an arts focus as promised — meaning people might not know whether to climb rocks in The Gravity Vault or climb the amps of rock bands playing the Wellmont.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Speaking of downtown and other places with parking meters, I heard free holiday parking has been extended to January 9. Good idea?

Sincerely,

Dashboard of Education

Yes. Many local businesses can use the help attracting shoppers. As an aside, lots of towns in this digital age are phasing out old-fashioned coin meters, so I have fewer opportunities to use my SpongeBob SquarePants quarters.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Are you sure those quarters are real money?

Sincerely,

Lee Gull-Tender

The 1999-created SpongeBob can’t help the fact that he’s too young to be elected President of the United States.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

In still more news, a directory of Montclair’s nonprofit organizations has been created through the efforts of former Mayor Ed Remsen, Kiwanis Club secretary Peter Ebling, and others. Reaction?

Sincerely,

Franz List

Very nice idea. Enough organizations to fill 32 pages! My math tells me that’s the equivalent of the four Hogwarts houses, “Five Easy Pieces,” “Seven Samurai,” and “Sixteen Candles.”


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Random movie mentions? Whatever. Anyway, Happy New Year!

Sincerely,

Jan U. Ary

Happy New Year to you as well, and to all who read this column each week! I’d like to note that 2022 will have more 2’s than any other year until 2222, when COVID will be a distant memory. Yes, the pandemic will end in 2095.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

The 2090s are chronicled in Mary Shelley’s 1826 apocalyptic novel “The Last Man.” Coincidence?

Sincerely,

Frank N. Stein

It’s a coincidence that Mary Shelley and Mikie Sherrill have the same initials. And in this COVID era, we’re all tired of seeing More Sickness.

 

 

Dave Astor, author, is the MontClairVoyant. His opinions about politics and local events are strictly his own and do not represent or reflect the views of Baristanet.

 

 

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8 COMMENTS

  1. The CDC has been incompetent since the git-go…which I think I posted back in the Spring of 2020. I pretty much ignore them and only use them as a yardstick of what is likely inaccurate.
    It is not a political thing. They have been a dysfunctional apolitical organization resting on their 20th Century laurels for several decades. In all honesty, even if they were competent I doubt they would have impacted the trajectory of COVID’s impacts. They now regularly best the W.H.O. in a comparison of the mediocre.

  2. Thank you for the comment, Frank. Few government agencies — and few politicians — would get an “A” for their COVID responses the past 21 months or so.

  3. Well, brigattista, Frank does comment a lot here and I always reply. 🙂 He and I often disagree on things, but Frank knows a LOT about Montclair — including details about the work and decisions of various town boards.

    Wishing you a good 2022, too!

  4. Happy New Year to you, too/two.

    I was criticizing the CDC above because I saw the correction they quietly issued for this erroneous press release https://baristanet.com/2021/12/omicron-now-dominant-variant-montclair-to-consider-indoor-mask-mandate/.

    The CDC acknowledged that 3 out of 4 cases week ending 12/18 were still the more lethal Delta variant (77%), not Omicron. That’s quite a miss.

    The really fantastic news is that the CDC’s revised 12/12-12/18 regional data for us in Northern NJ shows Delta and Omicron prevalence was equal.:)

    So, lagging indicators 2 weeks later should be interesting.

  5. Interesting, Frank. According to most reports, the highly contagious Omicron variant is indeed now much more prevalent than (the usually more dangerous to individuals) Delta; things have changed quickly during the past few weeks.

    “Happy New Year to you, too/two” — great finish to that line! 🙂

  6. Frank, I guess the CDC is on a continuum of sorts — imperfect, but offering guidelines that are usually better than the nonsensical “advice” offered by some politicians, some TV personalities, and some social media posters without a scientific clue.