Come rain, shine, or new COVID variants, Boston.com readers have planned a summer of fun — and they intend to keep it that way.
After nearly three years of pandemic living, we’ve all gotten used to adjusting our habits because of rising and falling COVID cases. We asked Boston.com readers if they were prepared to do the same this summer as new variants threaten to cause another COVID wave, and the majority of readers polled said variants BA.4 and BA.5 wouldn’t change their plans.
Dr. Dan Barouch, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, told the Boston Globe that this will be a summer of “substantial infections” because of the new variants. Together, BA.4 and BA.5 are causing an outbreak of cases and hospitalizations.
Still, after years of variants and subsequent waves, many Boston.com readers say they’re not letting the pandemic get in the way of their summer fun.
“With vaccines available to all and therapeutics available, as a family, we have accepted COVID-19 is not going anywhere and learned to live with it,” Darren from Brookline said. “We will not be canceling plans, rather the opposite, adding more trips to recapture the years lost and continue to make wonderful memories for my children.”
For some readers, it’s not COVID that has them hesitant about summer plans, but the cost of travel.
“Gas prices and inflation changed my plans, let’s be realistic here!” John from Shrewsbury said. “The virus, been there done that.”
After two summers of the pandemic impeding travel and gathering with loved ones, Kristine from Clinton said nothing is going to stop her from taking a vacation. In order to make sure it happens, she said she’ll be taking extra precautions.
“I am going on that vacation,” she said. “To ensure that I am changing my plans and activities ahead of time. In this two-week lead-up, I am curtailing activity with others, and I am masking up in stores and such. I do not want to get COVID ahead of time, especially as the window of time between testing positive and complete treatment time draws close. It’s literally so annoying to do that, but I am NOT skipping a vacation again, and I am NOT going to lose another investment.”
Eighty percent of the 364 people who responded to our poll said their summer trips will continue as scheduled. Below you’ll find a sampling of responses from readers about how the new variants will, or won’t, impact their summer.
Some entries may be edited for length and clarity.
Will the new variants (BA.4 and BA.5) impact your summer plans?
No, I’m not making any changes.
“I’m fully vaccinated and boosted, so in general, I’m planning on following my normal lifestyle. However, I will take extra precautions (such as masking) when necessary.” — Jeff W., Framingham
“It is not going away. You have to minimize risk to an acceptable level for yourself. Fully vaccinated and boosted twice. I know variants may break through, but I feel protected from serious illness.” — John D., Mansfield
“I’m not making any changes, except maybe wearing my mask more often at work. This is the third summer with COVID and nothing has changed.” — Hannah, Milford, N.H.
“I did my duty … I got vaxed 4x. I wore a mask when required. I’ve been living my life as I did before Covid for about a year now — crowded theaters, concerts, sporting events, bars, etc. and I haven’t gotten sick. Or if I have I didn’t know it. It’s time to live life.” — Rich C., Watertown
“Over time we have learned these variants, though more contagious, are less intense … We need to start coping. Plus, these White Claws won’t drink themselves at the beach.” — Vikki, Brookline
“We’ve already missed two summers. This year we’re heading out of MA and living life with the rest of the country. My kids only have so many years before they’re grown and gone, and we’re done wasting them.” — Susan, Lynn
Yes, I’ll adjust or cancel my plans based on case rates.
“My spouse has multiple immune disorders and getting COVID could kill her. I have to do whatever I reasonably can to protect her. I wish others were willing to follow extremely easy safety measures to keep people like my spouse safe too.” — JJ, Methuen
“I have worked hard to be COVID-free and wish to remain this way! I reside with a compromised elderly parent and cannot bring this virus into our home. Also, I like everyone else, have a responsibility NOT to be a vector of COVID-19. If your doctor’s office will not admit you into their office without a mask, why would you believe it was safe to go without one anywhere else?” — Lisa S.
“After avoiding Covid for 2+ years, I just got it. It’s not fun and I don’t want to get it again.” — Anonymous
“Only in the sense that I have not engaged in overseas travel since the pandemic. I am still not comfortable being on a plane or in a taxi — domestic flight or international — with a lot of strangers, each with their own COVID protocols.” — Brad, Portland, Maine
Boston.com occasionally interacts with readers by conducting informal polls and surveys. These results should be read as an unscientific gauge of readers’ opinion.