I’ve often heard people say that as Coronavirus cases have risen, the fear of the virus has fallen. This was the case for me, and for so many other people, until the unthinkable happened: someone I had been in contact with called me saying they had been diagnosed with Covid-19. Just those few words could change my entire life. What if I also had the virus? What if I had given it to my mom and dad, my friends, and my at-risk grandparents? It is at this moment when it hits you--Covid-19 is real, even if we pretend it isn’t.
After this phone call I spent the next week quarantined in my room. My family was nice enough to bring food and leave it outside my door every time I asked for it or facetime me when I felt lonely. I watched a lot of Netflix, started a puzzle, and played hours of Among Us. But this feeling of “what if” weighed down on me like a pit in my stomach, a constant reminder that by not wearing a mask I could have infected my entire family.
And so my mini-quarantine went on for a few days until luckily my PCR test came back negative. Not only was I lucky to not have been infected with Covid-19, but I was also just lucky to have a test itself. Covid cases are almost as high as they were in March during the original stay-at-home lockdowns. Almost every testing location near me is completely booked, and I was beyond lucky to find a test available for me. Even though the test came back negative, I still think of this as a wake up call.
Just the fear alone was enough to bring me back to reality. Even though I was only seeing a few friends outside without masks, the risk and danger of that action was much more than I originally thought. My city just announced an advised stay-at-home order, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they created a mandatory one too. It is overwhelming and scary to think about, but at the end of the day we need to prioritize our safety. Even though most of us are young and not at-risk, our actions impact the health of all the people around us, not just ourselves. It is time for us to put our masks on and step back 6ft again. I know the pandemic seems like it is never ending but it will get better one day, and the sooner we put on masks the sooner that day comes.