Making Peace

Out of quarantine; into reality

I had my first actual COVID-19 exposure this week. Up till now, I’ve had sort of fleeting scares but nothing that actually left me feeling at risk. I’m fully vaccinated and boosted, I mask everywhere I go, and I see basically no one. I was an introvert who was disinclined to go anywhere way before the pandemic, and I got vaccinated almost the literal day I was eligible, so I haven’t had any true close calls.

But this week, thanks to the ability of Omicron to evade our immune defenses, I had a fully vaccinated and boosted close friend test positive the day after we visited maskless. Because I’m also fully vaccinated and boosted, I technically didn’t have to quarantine, but I was nervous and diligently put on my KN95 mask everywhere I went outside of my own home. On Day 3, I tested negative, and on Day 5, I tested negative again, so I’m officially now in the clear.

I’m relieved, of course, but I’m also forced to confront the fact that getting COVID is now a matter of when and no longer if.

The main thing I was surprised about was how much shame I felt at the very prospect of a positive test. Like it would mean that I’d somehow failed or been irresponsible.

But this is the way it seems to be going. Back in March 2020, the whole idea was just to buy us some time, to avoid overwhelming the health care system. Now, though, we’ve bought as much time as we reasonably can, and there are vaccines (even for the 5 and up set!) and boosters and better treatment options. I’d still rather not contract COVID, all things being equal, the same way I’d rather not contract the flu or head lice or God forbid norovirus, but it’s feeling increasingly inevitable.

I don’t have any desire to go to superspreader events, and I’m a diligent masker and handwasher with no plans to stop, but I have a job and friends and kids who want to get back to living their lives, and so I have to make peace with the fact that I’m going to get COVID at some point and will almost certainly be fine, given my vaccination status and overall decent health.

Wrapping my head around the fact that I will get COVID this year is not the New Year’s resolution I want to make, but it’s the one I probably should make.

What about you? Have you had any real scares? Are you just accepting the fact that you’ll get COVID at some point?





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