Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and I have something in common. We both tested positive for COVID-19 about a week ago. According to an article in HuffPost on January 16th, A.O.C. was not a happy camper and I’m inclined to agree with her concerns. Like me, she was fully vaccinated and had received her booster.
Her complaint centred around the CDC’s guidelines for returning to normal life: “The idea of forcing people to work just 5 days after symptoms start is sociopathic and 100% informed by a culture that accepts sacrificing human lives for profit margins as a fair trade,” the lawmaker wrote.
I’ve been avoiding the discussion of COVID-19 on BoomerBroadcast because most of us are sick to death of hearing about it while trying to cope with the daily challenges of living during a pandemic that should and could have been halted at its source in China two years ago. But, now that I’m a bonafide member of the COVID Club, I can no longer ignore it.
After nearly two years of conscientiously practising every precaution humanly possible, last week I tested positive for COVID. I don’t know which strain as I can’t really understand the technical terms in the report that was emailed to me, but I suspect it’s Omicron because my symptoms presented like those of a cold; stuffy nose, cough, headaches and body aches, general malaise and fatigue. My husband tested negative, so far.
Prior to this, I had been carefully isolating except for once-a-week trips to the grocery store where I always masked and sanitized the cart. Fortunately, I have been triple vax’d and topped that off with flu and pneumonia vaccines for good measure. It’s an absolute mystery to me how I contracted the virus. Did a store clerk handling my produce, fruit, or bakery goods have COVID? Who knows?
What have I learned?
This has been a very sobering experience and I’ve learned a few things:
- I will never again be sanctimonious about how my careful precautions prevented me from getting the virus. It’s insidious and can sneak in around your mask or linger in the air while you’re talking to a neighbour in the driveway, or punching in your debit code at the grocery store. None of us is exempt and despite our best efforts, we are all vulnerable.
- Thankfully, I was vax’d to the max. Otherwise, right now I’d probably be waiting in a hospital corridor for a chance at a ventilator which may or may not be available thanks to all those stupid people who chose not to vaccinate and now require treatment.
- I am now even less tolerant (if that’s possible) of anti-vax’ers because they are using up valuable hospital and medical resources for something that could have avoided hospitalization. Those people who don’t want their rights infringed upon by getting injected with “they-don’t-know-what”, all of a sudden they demand to be intubated, injected, IV’d or otherwise treated with every pharmaceutical and medical intervention and snake-oil cure known to humankind. They made me sick, literally.
- As a high-risk seventy-four-year-old woman who has had a major surgical procedure within the last year, I am lucky to have had the option of free and available vaccination and testing to mitigate my outcome. Those of us who are vaccinated do not get as sick and certainly not life or death sick.
- PCR testing probably saved the friends in my bubble from infection. As a more trusted test than the rapid home tests which may indicate a false negative, I knew immediately and definitively. My symptoms were identical to a common cold so I immediately isolated. By taking the extra step of verifying my condition with a PCR test, I contained the spread. I will get retested this week and will continue to isolate longer than the recommended five days just to be on the safe side.
- It ain’t over ’til it’s over. I expected to move beyond the symptoms quickly but that has not been the case. As of today, I’m on Day Eleven and because of the tenacity of the virus, I’m reluctant to break quarantine until I feel 100 percent better and test negative. I have to question the wisdom of the five-day isolation. Are we really no longer contagious after a mere five days from the onset of symptoms?
Still so many questions
There is still so much to be learned about this virus. Like Ocasio-Cortez I seriously question the CDC’s assurance that we are not contagious five days after onset of symptoms. I was tested on Day Four, which was my worst and sickest day. Today is Day Twelve and because I am still achy, fatigued, coughing, and blowing my nose, you will never convince me that I am not contagious.
It has now become a matter of when we will each become infected instead of if. I recall the chickenpox epidemic when boomers were kids. Our parents wanted us to all just get it and get it over with. I’m not recommending we all get vaccinated then expose ourselves to the virus, but we have to wonder when and how this is all going to end. What’s the magic bullet to eradicate this terrible virus?
I am also not confident that I cannot contract COVID a second, or third time. I prefer to err on the side of caution. We were originally told that infection brought immunity but I have read about people getting infected a second time. Can I still be an asymptomatic carrier? Also, will there be any long-term effects? Therefore, I remain quarantined.
Please do not take any chances. Because I’m triple-vax’d, my symptoms are milder than they would have been otherwise, and they are still no fun. At least I’m not stealing a hospital bed from someone who desperately needs cancer surgery. Protect yourself and your fellow human beings by masking and avoiding gatherings of any size.
The long-term effects remain to be seen and because of our age, baby boomers are particularly vulnerable. I’m still puzzled as to how I could have contracted the virus, so I have to assume “The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.” Stay safe mes très chères.