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OMG Omicron! A Dispatch from Covid Central, USA

By Naomi Serviss / New York City

Virulent Variant: Omicron has conquered the Big Apple
Virulent Variant: Omicron has conquered the Big Apple

Started feeling crummy a couple days ago.

Nothing site-specific,

more an enshrouded malaise

with a stomachache.

Still, did my early morning

Central Park walking routine,

but with a shoulder chip.

Felt a little off.

I was testy to Albert,

the 86-year-old, backwards-walking

familiar stranger

I see most days on the path.

Some might nail him with a dirty old man peg.

I think he’s a lonely old man

who doesn’t grasp boundaries.

He’s also a dirty old man.

But considering the unpleasant

unseasonably warm and rainy weather,

I gave myself permission to have the vapors.

With a side of gut-itis.

Then my sinuses kicked in

and I blamed a head cold.

It seemed far-fetched to think it was

the dreaded virus!

But the virus I’d envisioned

as a crippling mystery,

was coming home to roost!

Why me?

Why not me?

After all, I was vaccinated, boosted

And had little contact

with outside-my-building folks.

I masked up outdoors regardless.

Even in the Central Park sanctitude.

So why should I “waste”

an extra testing kit I had

on a cold?

Covid home tests are hard to come by now
Covid home tests are hard to come by now

We Zoomed with the kids last night.

I quasi-bragged I had a mild cold.

And didn’t think it was necessary to test.

They rightly thought I was being an idiot!

So, today I did it,

as suggested by that big sneaker company.

A home Covid test determined I was positive.


I realized

the exhaustion was for real!

Not hypochondriacal this time!

But seriously, folks, this was the virus?

Headachy? Maybe my pallor was a tad off.

Zoom eye bags don’t count.

The author recuperating at home
The author recuperating at home

I told José,

the best Upper West Side doorman,

because he knows my routine

better than my husband Lew.

We see each other

when I bring Janis out

for her morning and afternoon walks.

He’s going to keep his distance now,

with my help!

I had fallen

into a pleasant habit

of bringing him herbal tea midmorning.

Sometime a Brookie from Trader Joe’s.


A marriage of fudge brownie and cookie=Brookie!

At the pandemic’s early stirrings,

I frantically bought José

boxes of powdered Vitamin C.

He deals with a million people!

He needs whatever!

We chat a few times a day and text each other.

I hope he doesn’t catch my drift.

José’s scheduled for a booster

and the last thing he needs

is to get sick now.

Tea service is on hold.

I’ll avoid him as much as possible,

even though it pains me.

When José returned from Puerto Rico,

he brought me a cool T-shirt!

Nina would be jealous if she knew,

maybe I won’t include that.

I jest.

I know I’m a lucky girl.

My symptoms are mild,

I’m not online overbuying!

Except from maybe

I don’t have to do the dishes!


We are going to need more Pine-Sol.

The author and her buddy Carol pre-diagnosis
The author and her buddy Carol pre-diagnosis

And I had to tell

my theater-loving pal/neighbor Carol

of my result, because two weeks ago

we hung out in her immense

prewar original everything apartment.

In the meantime, I feel no guilt

for letting the dust accumulate

a little more this week.

If the two-year-old’s toys

litter the living room,

so it goes.

Her barking I could live without.

Tomorrow, at sunrise, at 7:19 a.m.,

the hammering resumes next door.

Literally, out our bedroom window.

A 22-story lux condo is going up,

Three gorgeous brownstones sacrificed.

Let’s squeeze more New Yorkers in!

I guess my sarcastic mien

hasn’t been unduly affected

by Covid’s reach.


Restful sleep

Overprocessed Extra Noodle Lipton Noodle Soup.

Prescribed by Drs. Ben and Jerry
Prescribed by Drs. Ben and Jerry

Ice cream, gelato or Ben & Jerry’s.

Something soothing.


Ginger ale has been good.

Murray’s Sturgeon lox couldn’t hurt!

Thanks, benefactor!

Covid is no laughing matter,

it’s slain hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Unvaccinated folk are beyond my ken.

I’m forever grateful

for the dreamers, artists and scientists

who were gobsmacked by this pandemic

and created a vaccine!

I remember

the little polio-vaccine-infused sugar cubes

we took in elementary school.

We lined up

in Ogontz Junior High School’s lunchroom,

rendered speechless by the big kids.

The warm smells of processed meat wafted.

My children were

vaccinated when necessary and

it was both traumatic and miraculous.

Why wouldn’t people welcome science’s fruits?

It’s rhetorical.

Meanwhile, I have

the extraordinary Beatles documentary,

Get Back to finish

and a few books to crack open.

Right after a short catnap.


Naomi Serviss is a New York-based award-winning journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, Newsday, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Highroads (AAA magazine), in-flight publications, spa and travel magazines and websites, including

1 comment

1 Comment

Jan 09, 2022

Thankfully you’re on the mend. Message is clear. Get vaccinated!!

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