Everything came to a screeching halt last year. For me, the severity of the virus seemed like an urban legend. I knew of people, who knew of people, who knew someone who’d contracted COVID and were hospitalized. But I didn’t know anyone personally who had been in the ICU or hooked up to a ventilator. To be clear, I always understood the seriousness of COVID-19. From the moment cities across the country started seeing spikes in cases, I took every precaution the CDC advised. Even with this looming threat of disease hovering over the nation, I went months without truly worrying about getting sick- until I contracted COVID in late September.
According to the Associated Press, the United States is reaching nearly 600,000 deaths from COVID-19. Sometimes it’s unbearable to think about the families who never saw this coming and were just left to deal with losing a loved one, and perhaps not even having a proper service for them.
I was blessed. My family, extremely lucky.
I went to a testing site just for safe measure, I never imagined my results would come back positive. But they did. And just like that I went into quarantine… along with my niece (18) and my nephew (8). The three of us having the virus at the same time was a wicked sort of twist of fate. I’m so close to my niece and nephew and I never want to see them sick. My niece quarantined away at college while my nephew and I quarantined at my parents’ house; who’d graciously given up their master bedroom for me.
For a third grader, it was a dream come true. Ten days of uninterrupted leisure- snacking whenever he wanted to, playing his games whenever he wanted to, and basically being waited on hand and foot.
For me, it was torture. Mentally anyway. The three of us showed no physical symptoms of coronavirus, minus slight fevers here and there. It was a blessing to avoid the physical ailments of a respiratory virus; but the isolation that came along with it was terrible. By nature, I enjoy my alone time. But there was something about forcibly being apart from the world that was hard to deal with. The first day was okay. But by day three, I was tired of looking at the same walls, and they seemed to be closing in on me. On day 7, I thought I was free. It was such a disappointment to learn I still had some time to go. As a millennial, I’m used to hyper-connectivity. Sure I could talk on the phone… but I couldn’t have visitors. It was tough. It was surreal. For the most part, I was just alone with my thoughts. Which was good and bad. I had time to pick myself apart and pull myself back together.
My experience with COVID was light, but the mental strain and isolation had a lasting impact on me. Maybe that’s why I’m so sensitive to how people treat the pandemic. It’s serious. And now is the perfect time to learn the facts, protect yourself and your family! To learn more about how COVID-19 has affected Black communities go to the National Black Cultural Information Trust. They have lots of information to help us protect ourselves and heal together.