After more than two years of successfully dodging it, COVID-19 finally hit my family the week. On Tuesday my wife woke up with a migraine, which isn't unusual for her; on Wednesday morning, she woke up with a low (100.4°F fever) and we belatedly realized that she might be sick. She took an antigen test1 and the TEST line turned blue basically instantly.
Quarantine ensued. Isaac (our son) has been home from school2 and we've all been cooped up on the property for the past few days.
So far, Isaac and I have continued to be symptom-free and testing negative on antigen tests. I also got one PCR 3 (so far) which was negative. We've been trying to isolate as much as possible, but Eva and I both have full-time jobs, and Isaac can't go back to day care until this nightmare is over, so there's only so much we can do — we also have a relatively small house which doesn't have any tightly-closing inside doors. Both of us adults have been wearing N95 masks whenever awake, and we have HEPA air purifiers4 running in whatever rooms we happen to be occupying.
Eva is fully-vaccinated and has had mild symptoms (runny nose, low fever, etc), but she still is very strongly positive on antigen tests; hopefully she'll recover in the next few days, and then Isaac and I can get PCRs, and then he can go back to school, and then in a few weeks he can finally get vaccinated5, and then we'll be done with this… at least, for a little while…
In the meantime, I'm left wondering why Eva got sick and I didn't. It's not like she's gone anywhere I haven't. Is my immune system just stronger — did we both get exposed, and I happened to produce some overwhelming immune response? Or did I just happen to dodge whatever breath carried the disease, and every second I spend in this household is another chance of exposure?
We're, of course, extremely lucky to have made it two years without anyone in this household (or our parents or siblings) getting sick, and we're lucky that neither of us is seriously ill, but damn if this isn't annoying.
Some more reading, if you're in a COVID mood:
- "Post–COVID Conditions Among Adult COVID-19 Survivors Aged 18–64 and ≥65 Years — United States, March 2020–November 2021": a CDC study from two weeks ago showing long COVID may occur in as many as 20% of people. Oof.
- "Why COVID-19 gaslighting by politicians is so dangerous for democracy": I am a registered Democrat, but that doesn't mean I think Democrats' chief motivation is anything other than getting elected. See also: this infamous and awful memo.
- "The Curious Case of Leana Wen, Physician-Advocate Turned Covid Pundit": Some inside baseball that follows up the previous article very well
- "A Negative COVID Test Has Never Been So Meaningless": antigen tests have a sensitivity of as low as 40% and can't be trusted if they show a negative. Thank goodness we're cutting off funding for testing.
We have to test basically constantly because of colds from day-care, so we go through 2-4 tests a week. I've been buying the on/go tests from various online retailers, but we've also used FlowFlex, Binax, and iHealth tests. The free federal ones were nice but lasted… a couple of weeks… ↩
Because we're not sociopaths and don't want to get his classmates sick. I've had some… distressing… discussions with other parents who don't even seem to be able to think of other peoples' children and just scheme how to get their sick kids back into school, damn the consequences. ↩
This was a miserable experience. My primary care provider (One Medical) has no PCR appointments in the East Bay available in the next 5 weeks, and the municipal sites are all shut down. I ended up going to the state-affiliated site (LHI), which doesn't let you reserve PCR tests any more, but if you make an appointment for a rapid test, you can ask for a PCR when you get there, and they'll give it to you if they have supply. We're 27 months into this pandemic… how have we still not figured out testing‽ ↩
Don't even get me started on how insanely frustrating the situation is with vaccines for children under 5. Despite those children being prolific carriers of COVID, the FDA seems determined to not let them get vaccinated. My best guess is that someone at the FDA is in the pocket of Pfizer and that's why they've sat on the highly effective ModeRNA vaccine for the last two months – see also, this tweet thread. ↩