Friday, September 4, 2020

In Which I am the Ass

 We have had an extremely low covid number for this county. Privately, I have always thought it was due to the low number of tests that we actually perform. It can and will be debated and debated hotly. I live in a red county which means that a great deal of people think this crisis will go away after election. They see it as a hoax. 

Even at our own hospital, you've got personnel telling others that doctors are listing covid, but it is not covid at all. It is all part of a conspiracy to get extra money for the hospital. There's always someone who "knows somebody who works at the hospital" who said that there actually have been no covid cases in our county. They are always a little amazed when I say that "the someone that they know"  ought to be fired for lying to the public during a public health crisis. 

In my opinion, we are a poor county, and there are people who use medical care for the big stuff only. You have a cold or the sniffles, you take something OTC and you treat your symptoms at home. Even in these days. Especially if you're of the mind that this is all one giant hoax.

In any case, school has started Tuesday and our cases have jumped 25% in the three days. 

In my mind, this 'jump' is explained by the fact that if you have a fever, you don't get into the schools until you have a note from the doctor to state you're covid negative. More testing, more cases. 

We should probably quit testing. Our numbers would be much better if we simply quit testing. 

In any case, this has hit home. I have a niece who doesn't have a car. She lives near me, over the state line. I try to be helpful to her, driving up to take her grocery shopping once a week. 

I was supposed to help her move into her new home. Since her old home was in pretty poor repair, she was excited to move to her new modern and remodeled home. I was very happy for her too and volunteered a truck and a dolly and one moderately useful aunty. (The uncle had a garage to build.)

The weekend that I was supposed to help her she called to say that her brother had tested positive. 

I haven't seen my nephew for probably 4 or 5 years. He and his wife had come into town for a family gathering. My niece's daughter was headed back to college. The five of them: my niece, her daughter, my sister, and my nephew and his wife spent a nice afternoon together. 

Later in the week, my nephew tested positive for covid. He is quarantined. His wife is awaiting the results of her test. They both work at a plant that has (at this point) a 6.1% positive rate. My niece and my sister were tested and awaiting results. Her daughter is at college. 

The move was postponed, which made perfect sense to me. My understanding of these things is that once you know that you've come in physical contact with someone who has it, you need to quarantine for two weeks. 

Except that two days later, she called me to tell me that she had tested negative and that the move was back on. 

A little gobsmacked and on my way out the door, I said that I'd call her back. 

I tossed this about in my mind for the rest of the day, the fact that she wasn't quarantining when she spent the day with someone who tested positive and was displaying symptoms. (He thought he had allergies). Even if her test had come back negative, she could begin showing symptoms (and test positive) at any point during that two week time frame.  

Was my hesitation an over-reaction? It's just that I would hate to read about myself in the local paper: 'Local Woman Brings Covid to County'. The article would go on to read: 'Woman had misgivings, but ignored them. With a background in epidemiological reporting, she should have certainly known better. And then people would show up in front of my house with torches and pitchforks and....

(When I'm mulling something over in bed, my mind tends to go immediately to worst case scenarios.)

The next morning, I called the health department, explained the situation, explained my concerns. The answer came back, just as I expected it would. My niece should be quarantining. She should not be going to work every day. Her daughter's school should be notified that she had been physically exposed. I should not cross the state line to help her move. 

When I got back to my niece, I explained why I would be unable to help her move. Her reply was short. She didn't have time to talk. 

I hate for people to think that I am an ass. 

But I am sure they do.


  1. I would have done the same thing. I haven't had any known exposure to someone yet with Covid. My niece has had it and my brother has been exposed twice now and went through the testing and quarantining process twice but hasn't gotten it. I haven't seen either of them in person since last year sometime.

    Unfortunately, several people I have known personally have died from the disease, the last one just last week. I can't imagine that I'm alone in knowing people personally who have died from it but yet when I go out in public, I am in the minority wearing a mask. I just don't get it.

    Our school system has had two students that have tested positive in the first two weeks of school. One resulted in 34 quarantined students and the other 48 quarantined students. All the other schools in the area have reversed course and are now going virtual or hybrid. We are the last school in the area still doing all in person. I suspect things might change over this long holiday weekend.

  2. So glad you are back. In the past, I too have always made myself available to help people. Unfortunately, I have found they came to expect it and got angry when, for a legitimate reason, I let them know nicely I could not do what they wanted me to do. Despite explaining the reason I could not be their personal servant that day, I have been ghosted several times as a result. They come to feel they are owed your help. Heavens knows they are never available to return any favors. Now that I am older and a little wiser, I don't bend over backwards for others anymore. Sad, because I genuinely enjoy helping others.

  3. One of the tragic things to come from this pandemic is the divisiveness it has caused. Like Ed, I would have done exactly what you did. Your health department is not making things up. They are following protocols which, if more followed them, there would be fewer cases. Two months ago, in the county where I live, our county mayor ordered mandatory mask-wearing. And what do you know? Our cases have significantly dropped. This past weekend he let that order expire. The sound you hear is me knocking my head against the wall.

    I respect everyone’s right to think what they want to think about this, as absurd as I think some of those opinions might be. But if I’m choosing to believe science, don’t ask me to compromise because you believe in hoaxes and conspiracies.

  4. One more thing. It’s your nature to help folks. You can still do that. And I know you will.


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