Art by Sara Shakeel

Our Biggest Covid Mistake

Dear Random Commenters on Every Post About Covid,

I keep seeing the same old tired argument: for most people, covid is like a bad cold or the flu.

Since when did we want one of those?

A friend of mine had the flu once, and she lost half her hair from the stress of it.

During the swine flu epidemic, I was almost quarantined at the Guangzhou airport for having a fever, when in reality I had just been warm from falling into a deep sleep on the flight.

Recently, I had covid and missed seeing all of my family over the holidays. Sure, I’m fine, but I ended up eating all the food I desperately cooked to share with 13 other people on Christmas Eve by myself. Ok, my husband helped. Still, the family-sized wild rice and gruyère cheese casserole didn’t exactly make up for another depressing quarantine Christmas.

So again, why are we acting like this isn’t a big deal? Getting sick is disruptive, more so now than ever. It’s probably one of the most inconvenient things that can happen to you, and all we keep saying is: it’s like getting a cold.

No. I used to get colds and still go to work. I used to get colds and still fly halfway around the world. I used to get colds and carry on with every aspect of my life. Now, I can’t even get a cold for fear my every plan, and my paycheck, will suffer. That. Is. Annoying. Even. If. I. Am. Going. To. Live.

I used to get privately aggravated at people who coughed in public, cursing them under my breath on a flight for potentially exposing me to yet another cold. Pre-covid, most people would just hack away into the air with no attempt to cover their mouths whatsoever. If you were lucky, they’d ball their hand up into a little fist in a feigned effort to cover their spray. Then they’d wipe it off on their pants or your shared armrest. Post-covid, we can publicly shame someone for doing that.

Can we all just stop downplaying how disruptive it is to get sick right now? Forget the fact that we don’t seem to care about the dying and the dead, if you can, and ask yourself why no one even cares about the inconvenience of covid? Getting sick, I’ll say it again, is annoying.

Our biggest covid mistake was underestimating everyone’s willingness to inconvenience themselves for their own agenda. Prime example? My dad.

My dad is the kind of guy who gets pissed when he makes a wrong turn in a parking lot. He can’t handle the small inconvenience of a U-turn, but he is willing to be inconvenienced by not getting a covid vaccine. By that, I mean, instead of flying, he is willing to drive three days to get to a vacation spot in a city that doesn’t have any mask mandates or vaccine requirements for restaurant and bar entry. He doesn’t want to have to worry that a lack of a vaccine card will hold him back, so instead of getting vaccinated, he will drive for three days instead of flying for 5 hours to go on vacation. Vaccine cards aren’t even required to get on the plane, but the fear that they will be is enough to motivate his road trip. Why? Because it’s easier, according to him.

Need another example? Last year, an unvaccinated co-worker pushed for our company to participate in a trade show no one, including the owners, wanted to do. He said he would do it all by himself. Guess what, he couldn’t do it all by himself and when he flew to corporate to get help, he got covid instead. Spent two months in a hospital, which included time on a ventilator. But it’s just like a bad cold, right? All that inconvenience for what? For the belief that getting vaccinated is somehow worse than ending up in a hospital for two months?

I honestly have no idea how he’s doing, because we stopped getting updates. Apparently, the painfully slow progression of feeling better was an annoying thing to communicate. Not as annoying as actually getting it, though!

Whether you believe in getting vaccinated or not, your life has been impacted on the most annoying level — and some of it you have done to yourself. So, you can go ahead and admit that it’s not like a bad cold now. No cold ever made you this angry. No cold sent you into a google spiral in search of supporting evidence against the advice from your own doctor. No cold inspired you to yell at someone for invading your space at the grocery store. No cold had you acting a fool, yelling at people about masks.

No cold or flu ever had you fighting so hard for your right to get one.

Sincerely,

I’m Tired

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Still talking to myself.

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