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Hello, it’s me.

I know what you’re thinking: Couldn’t she have used lyrics from a more recent Adele song, like “Go easy on me”? Sorry, but I’m already hissing those words between clenched teeth to my physical therapist twice a week, so I had to find something else to use for the return of Fast Forward.

About time, eh? It’s been 10 weeks since my knee replacement surgery, and even though rehab continues, it was time to get back to work.

Sorry I didn’t have time to respond to the dozens and dozens of you who wrote to wish me well (thanks!) and to tell me to get the hell back to writing already. So here I am, back on the Tuesday and Friday schedule for now, but scaled-down versions as I try to remember what working for a living feels like. Since many of you have asked for details, there’s more on my surgery and rehab below. But no pictures.

Happy New Year! It’s Tuesday, Jan. 4. Sunrise in Boston was at 7:13 a.m. and sunset will be at 4:25 p.m. for 9 hours and 12 minutes of sunlight. (Although sunrise has been stuck at 7:13 a.m. for several days, sunset has been occurring later by about a minute a day.) The waxing moon is 6 percent full.


The Old Farmer’s Almanac says that now that winter is here, get ready to cook with snow and outdoor ice, because apparently most of their readers have no indoor refrigeration. You can mix fresh snow, sugar, milk or cream, and vanilla for a winter treat called snow cream. Add a cup of snow into pancake batter for fluffier flapjacks. Since you also may not have running water, you can use snow to scrub pots and pans clean. And of course, eat snow if you burn your mouth with hot pizza. Everybody knows that.


What’s it like outside? Sunny but cold: Low 30s. Warmer tomorrow, high 40s, with showers in the afternoon.

Breaking: Mass General Brigham and Beth Israel Lahey Health said this afternoon that they are going to require all employees to receive a COVID-19 booster dose because of rising cases and hospitalizations in Massachusetts that threaten to further sideline hospital staff. Here’s more.

Hey, sport: Which team do you want the Patriots to face in the first round of the playoffs? (Question for Pats’ fans only!) Is it Buffalo, Cincinnati, Kansas City, or Tennessee? The Globe’s Nicole Yang examines various scenarios and the pros and cons of each potential matchup.

Tennis superstar Novak Djokovic won’t reveal whether he has been vaccinated because he’s a putz, but Australian authorities have granted him an exemption to travel there to compete in the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 17, because, well, he’s also money. I could only shake my head when I read his message on Instagram (boldface mine):

Happy New Year, everybody! Wishing you all health, love, and happiness in every present moment and may you feel love & respect towards all beings on this wonderful planet.

Except for those who get in the way of his pursuit of a record-setting 21st Grand Slam men’s singles title. Priorities, people.

Today’s US coronavirus / COVID-19 numbers in the US

From the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University

Confirmed US cases: 56,490,847. When I last wrote Fast Forward on Oct. 15, there were 44,787,489.


Confirmed US deaths: 828,344. When I last wrote Fast Forward on Oct. 15, there were 722,000.

From The New York Times COVID-19 map and case count:


Fully vaccinated: 62 percent of all Americans

Partially vaccinated: 11 percent of all Americans

No shots: 27 percent of all Americans

Seven-day average of daily vaccinations: 1,062,236

A month ago: 1,152,647


Daily average of new infections: 486,658 (it was just 86,287 people on Oct. 15)

A month ago: 104,799 people


Yesterday: 102,479 (it was 62,125 people on Oct. 15)

A month ago: 60,294 people were in the hospital


Yesterday: 1,643 Americans died (it was 2,031 on Oct. 15)

A month ago: 490 Americans died in one day

The coronavirus battle continues: So those who are able to get vaccinated but refuse to do so continue to wage war on the rest of us. But what’s particularly deranged is that they now are setting their sights on our kids.

Statistically, children who become infected likely will not have a severe case. But the number of kids and teens being hospitalized with COVID-19 nonetheless is soaring nationwide. More children than at any time during the pandemic are getting infected because of the high contagiousness of the omicron variant and the millions of Americans who still spurn the vaccine.

And the more children who are infected, the more that serious cases will develop. The American Academy of Pediatrics reported that the 198,551 cases among kids and teens nationwide during the week of Dec. 16 rose to at least 325,340 cases just one week later.


And just about all of those kids are unvaccinated, either because they are too young or their parents refuse immunization.

In July and August, the CDC examined 915 Covid cases among children and teens hospitalized at six medical centers and found that 78 percent of them were admitted because of complications: About half needed help breathing, and nearly a third had to be admitted to the ICU.

Things have only gotten worse since then.

Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston is a perfect example. The number of children being hospitalized because of COVID-19 doubled two weeks ago, and then more than doubled again last week. More than one-third of those 70 pediatric patients are under 5 years old.

The doctor who heads up the hospital’s COVID Command Center told KHOU-TV that he is seeing “cases of viral pneumonia and respiratory distress, serious lung infections in children even under two years of age. There’s no question that omicron is making a real impact in the youngest of children.”

Those who are able but refuse to get vaccinated aren’t just setting themselves up as willing hosts for a deadly disease. They are watching other Americans die and little kids fall seriously ill with a colossal callousness that is incomprehensible.

What to watch this week: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is pivoting away from Build Back Better and turning the Senate’s attention to stopping the GOP’s national voter suppression campaign.


But with the Democrats’ voting rights bill blocked by a GOP filibuster in the Senate, the only way to do that is to change Senate rules to allow legislation related to voting rights to pass with a simply majority, rather than the 60-vote threshold now required.

Naturally, the Democratic holdouts are Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who point out that if and when Republicans regain power, they’ll use the simple-majority rule to pass voting bills Democrats don’t like.

No kidding, Sherlock. That’s the tradeoff you make when you want to stop autocrats from hindering people’s ability to vote. What’s the alternative? Sit on the sidelines and watch them cheat?

Schumer says he’ll have the Senate debate the measure by Martin Luther King Jr. Day Jan. 17. Watch this one.

Speaking of Build Back Better, I think we have to help out those Americans who can’t read understand the bill by renaming it Universal and Free Preschool plus Affordable Child Care and More Home Care for Disabled Americans and More Tax Cuts for Families with Kids and Lower Prescription and Health Care Costs plus Lower Taxes for Low-Wage Workers and Cheaper College and Better Nutrition for Kids and Lots of Stuff to Slow Down Global Warming.

Later this week: Thursday is the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection and attack on the Capitol. On Friday, I’ll review exactly what the House Select Committee has uncovered so far about the events of that day.

Finally, thanks again for all the kind notes about my surgery. It went great. My rehab is going to take a bit longer than the vast majority of knee replacements because of a minor complication having to do with the outward rotation of my lower legs (I walk with my toes pointed out, which for most people is a habit; for me, it’s anatomical).

So my surgeon had to straighten my tibia, and now my left foot points straight ahead while my right foot still is duck-like. It’s pretty weird!

I also have an inflamed bursa sac (bursitis) in that knee that wasn’t fixed by the surgery and is interfering with some of my knee exercises. But we’re working on getting that calmed down.

I tell you all this just in case I have any setbacks that necessitate me taking time off to concentrate on PT and recovery. Hopefully that won’t be the case.

One thing I do know is that the e-mails from you have been such a great tonic. Thank you so much for the support.

I’m also sorry that we had to skip our annual Winter Bookies List, but we won’t miss the Summer Edition.

But I did have an idea: How about sending along jokes and riddles that are good for someone recovering from an illness or surgery? Not necessarily medical-related -- you can only hear so many bedpan jokes -- but just funny, goofy, groan-eliciting, or even some brain teasers and riddles, which I love. (Just make sure you provide the answers!)

Like our Bookies, I’ll compile the best in one great big list that we all can have on hand for ourselves or to share with others who need a lift.

Let’s limit it to one joke or riddle per person. You can send yours to me at teresa.hanafin@globe.com.

See you Friday.

Thanks for reading. I think a half-waddle is better than a full-waddle. E-mail comments and suggestions to teresa.hanafin@globe.com, or follow me on Twitter @BostonTeresa. See you Friday.

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Teresa M. Hanafin can be reached at teresa.hanafin@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @BostonTeresa.