Whether you call it COVID-19, Coronavirus, or the Wuhan Flu, it’s all the same thing, and the impact that it’s had on the world is horrible. But how bad is the actual disease? Everyone’s experience is going to be different, but here is mine.
To start off, we did everything “right” — everything the Health Department was telling us to do. We limited excursions from our home to essential work and groceries. We wore face coverings. We used hand sanitizer. We washed our hands frequently and thoroughly. We are generally healthy, and very low-risk. We washed all surfaces and common contact points with bleach. Everything we were told to do, we did. We even install our State’s Contact Tracing program (which uses Bluetooth and GPS) to allegedly help trace who people have been in contact with if they test positive. (More on that later).
My daughter was sent to get tested by her work when she asked for a day off to get her annual allergy shot, they asked her symptoms: cough and sore throat. Friday the 12th they called with a positive test result. I’d just pulled into the parking lot at work when I got the news.
I called my boss and let him know that the Health Department was quarantining the family for 14-days, then turned around and drove 90 minutes back home. I called my oldest son and advised him, who also came home from his work.
The Health Department told us that the entire family would need to be tested in 7 days – the following Friday. During which time, none of us were symptomatic. They also started manually contact tracing based on interviews with my oldest daughter to determine the source of her infection, and those with whom she’d interacted which may need to be quarantined. (More on the suspected source later.)
The day after I got tested, I got a cough and some chest congestion. Nothing worse than seasonal allergies. The usual allergy medication didn’t help, but Mucinex DM or Sudafed did. The next day my wife and youngest son got the same symptoms. We never had fevers, chills, body aches, or loss of smell/taste — just a dry cough and mild chest congestion.
The test results came back: my wife and I and our youngest son were positive. The other three children were negative.
We segregated the “Negatives” to the basement, and the Positives to the main floor. A few friends from town delivered our mail to us (since we have a PO Box and no delivery to our home) and brought groceries and snacks to us.
Since it had been more than 7-days since any of us had interacted with anyone outside our family (excluding my eldest daughter, of course) and none of us were symptomatic before our tests, the Health Department said no further contact tracing was necessary. Friends and co-workers were safe, and we could not have inadvertently transmitted the virus to them.
Ten days after the test, the Health Department gave the Positives the okay to go back into society, but the Negatives have to finish out their 14-day quarantine – and be tested again if they come down with symptoms. So far, none of them have.
I’ve been lucky enough to be able to work from home, so the family has had no direct financial impact due to our infection. My oldest son was offered ½ pay for staying at home, and allowed to use his PTO to ring his paychecks up to “full”. He’s also been assured that he has a job when we returns (which should be Monday the 29th, as long as everyone stays symptom-free until the 26th). Ironically, his employer isn’t a fan of direct deposit, so his physical paychecks have been piling up back at the office, waiting for him to pick them up.
My oldest daughter was allowed to continue her trade-school online and was just cleared to return to to classroom study yesterday. She was also cleared to return to work. Her employer has been paying her an “impact wage” during the period of her lock-down.
We’re an Android family, so when Google and Apple announced they were adding contact tracing abilities to devices running their operating systems, we thought we’d be good to go. Contact Tracing is a potentially scary thing from a privacy standpoint, but the approach that Google and Apple cooked up seemed like the best way to preserve privacy while will using technology to contact trace. Unfortunately, that came pretty late in the COVID-19 cycle. Our State partnered with an app which does not use the Apple/Google approach, and instead uses GPS and Bluetooth. Not ideal.
The questions that the app asks during its daily “checkup” questioner may be fine, but the direction based on those results isn’t accurate. “Have you been in contact with someone who tested positive … ?” Yes. “Okay, quarantine for 14 days.” Then answer the same question the next day, quarantine for 14 MORE days?! etc, etc. Also, it doesn’t remember when you reported that you were tested (for calculations), and doesn’t take in to account that a person can ever be free of the virus – once infected, always infected, apparently. Put another way, since four in my family tested positive as some point in the past, if anyone tells the app that they’ve been in contact with us, they’re told to quarantine for 14-days – without regard to if it’s been 10 days, 14 days, or 1 year – and despite the fact that the Health Department has given us a clean bill of health.
What’s more, the contract tracing (the whole reason for having the app in the first place), doesn’t appear to do anything. So, as far as I can tell, the app the State uses is inaccurate and just “Safety Theater”.
The State of Mind
We’ve got a full fridge, pantry, and storage room. We have laying chickens and ducks. We’re not hurting for food or essentials: we have high-speed Internet; subscriptions to Netflix, CBS All Access, Prime Video, and Disney Plus; our own movies and TV on Plex and Google Play Movies; plenty of music; shelves of books; a shooting range in our back yard; and games and puzzles galore. Our kids have multiple ways to call and video-chat with friends, and our house is big enough that if we need to spread out and have some time to ourselves, we can. We’ve got the basics covered.
What we burned through was “comfort food”, soda pop, chips — what my mom would call “Gut Plaster” — and I didn’t realize how important that is to mental well-being.
Seeing people in person, even when wearing masks and from a distance of dozens of feet, and only for few minutes at a time was vital for morale. Video calls helped, but that in-person contact — albeit distanced — went a long way.
Although the pandemic is far from being over, it is for four of us. According to the Health Department we’re now immune. We can’t get it again, and we can’t give it to anyone — which makes me wonder why they still want us to wear masks, more “security theater” I suppose.
Regardless, remember that it’s an election year, and politicians never let a good a good crisis go to waste.
- We’ve seen how quick they’ve been to take away the freedom to assemble, the freedom to go to church, in some places the freedom to bear arms for self-defense, the right of privacy, and more.
- We’ve learned that it’s okay for a person to get mailed four or five ballots — and apparently okay to vote on them all.
- We’ve seen how you have to “socially distance” and avoid large crowds, unless you’re a leftist protester pulling down statues, spray-painting buildings, and harassing law enforcement officers.
- We’ve seen how liquor stores and pot dispensaries are “essential businesses”, but gun stores and churches are not.
- We’ve seen how it’s okay to stand in lines at Walmart, but not okay to stand in lines to cast a ballot.