While our world is stalked by a killer virus, some countries did a good job keeping their numbers down and others didn’t. A worldwide crises like a pandemic definitely shows what a difference how the leadership of a country responds makes in the volume of cases that country experiences and the amount of time it takes to recover.
Meanwhile, the citizens of the world are more than just statistics. They’re all individual people, all with their lives disrupted to various extents, the worst of course being those who became deathly ill or whose close family or friends died.
With the range of severity varying from no symptoms at all to life-ending, there’s no standard experience to being a victim of the virus, but for those who do experience even mild symptoms the after effects can linger long beyond the time they are actually sick with the virus.
With the advent of the antibody test it’s now possible to for some people to find out whether or not they had Covid early on – even if it was way back when it was thought to be confined to the Wuhan area of China and just referred to as Coronavirus. A negative result doesn’t mean you never had it though. Besides the possibility of false negatives, according to an article I read there are apparently more than one type of antibody and at least in the USA anyway they are mainly testing for the one that disappears fastest.
Things that were thought to be colds, flu, or pneumonia at the time have since been discovered to have actually been Covid-19. We live in a county with less than 100 recorded cases and no deaths. Back in February my husband was sick in bed for a couple weeks with an unknown respiratory illness of which he never sought medical care at the time, though I would check sometimes when he was asleep to make sure he was still breathing. None of the many now known symptoms of Covid – or Corona as it was called at the time – had been published yet other than basic things like a dry cough and respiratory issues. He had the loss of taste and smell, congestion, fever, and vivid dreams as well as the cough, but at the time he hadn’t mentioned most of those symptoms as they hadn’t been associated with any disease at the time and we thought he just had the flu or an extremely severe cold.
Meanwhile I tried to stay healthy and took the cold-preventative Zicam to try and ward off whatever was plaguing him. I ended up with what I thought was a lingering cold anyway. I was never sick in bed, but did start with a fever and massive headache followed by an on-fire feeling sore throat, cough, vivid dreams, something weird with my toes which at the time I attributed to my shoes rubbing when I run, and a profusely runny nose. I’ve got allergies and always have a kleen-x handy, but needed a pocketful of them during that time. That was likely my saving grace as to not having worse symptoms since that was likely bringing the virus out and there have been articles saying one of the things helping reduce the severity in some Asian countries besides wearing masks is the fact that a high percentage of the people there frequently perform sinus rinsing with neti pots or similar apparatus. Rest assured that all of those tissues made it into the garbage can when I got home. I’m not one of those disgustingly rude people who throws used kleen-x alongside the road or trails littering the countryside and possibly infecting others. Just as bad are the people who bag their dog poop and then just leave it there. There’s no kleen-x fairy and no dog poop fairy either that will come along and clean up the mess, people need to take care of their own garbage themselves. That goes for the rest of the litter people throw around too. If you can carry it/have it in your car full, there’s no reason you can’t hang onto it once it’s empty until you come to appropriate receptacles for garbage or recycling.
John’s most likely Covid encounters were either because he had spent several weekends working over at his parent’s house in preparation for his mother returning from a nursing home so the virus could have come from that nursing home, or from working in a store’s booth at a boat show during that time, or from a poker tournament. People he knew from both the boat show and poker tournament later tested positive for Covid-19, and an unknown respiratory illness had spread through the nursing home. The poker game was in our county, while the boat show and his parent’s house (and mother’s nursing home) are all in a counties with a much higher incidence of Covid-19.
This was long before masks and social distancing, way back when it was still just called Coronavirus and before anyone really knew it had already spread beyond China. I still took my dog out for a daily walk or run every day, but my dog is a heeler and they are known for being overreactive. Piper is especially unpredictable in her reaction toward other dogs. We’ve been social distancing as long as I’ve had her. Long before social distancing was a thing so I most likely did not spread it to anyone. We go early enough in the morning that we often don’t see anyone anyway. Other than our daily trip out to the trails and dropping pre-labeled packages off at the post office I’m somewhat of a hermit. Even at the grocery store I’ve always preferred to avoid aisles with anyone else on them whenever possible. Besides them being in the way, if the other person is a heavy smoker, has smoked recently, or wears patchouli or too much perfume I can’t breath anywhere near them. Breathing on the laundry soap aisle is an issue for me sometimes even if nobody else is there because of all the smells wafting off of the scented products. (I only buy unscented ones.)
I’m not sure how long the actual virus lasted, but the “cold” went on for a couple months before most of the symptoms gradually retreated. Five months later though I’m still fighting a bit of a sore throat with one slightly inflamed tonsil and the other with a white spot like you get with strep throat.
John got over the initial illness in a couple weeks, but was feeling poorly for a couple months after. He had two major sinus infections that piggy-backed onto the Covid requiring several rounds of antibiotics. At times it was so severe he couldn’t even stand up without becoming so dizzy it made him nauseous. At one point he couldn’t even keep water down for 3 days. He’s had all sorts of problems with his ears and salivary glands as well as his sinuses ever since. Neither a cat scan nor an MRI could pinpoint the issue, but he did test positive for Covid-19 antibodies 4 months later so now we know he definitely had the virus. He was asked to return in 3 months to see if they are still there as currently nobody knows how long the antibodies will last. In spite of all the issues he’s had by official standards John’s case would also be considered mild since he was not hospitalized. The doctor did say they are finding that in mild cases like mine you may not get antibody protection for very much time at all. Possibly only about 3 months. There are articles saying that they are finding cases now where people were either re-infected several months later or the virus resurfaced. Then again there are other articles saying that even after the antibodies disappear the virus should be recognized by the immune system of someone who previously had it and their body should respond to make more antibodies quickly. So basically they still don’t really know what sort of protection people who already had Covid-19 have or how long they have it.
It’s really a shame that there are so many people out there who don’t take this deadly virus seriously. They’ll be sorry if they get it because even with a mild case the aftereffects linger long after the virus is gone. We had it in February and the aftereffects are still with us. Even people who don’t have any symptoms themselves could be the ticking time bomb that kills someone they love. I saw an article just the other day about a 31-year old woman who was in the hospital after attending a Covid party. Unbelievably people actually attend parties in attempts to catch this dread disease. Her last words before she died of Covid-19 were “I thought it was a hoax.” People aren’t dying all over the world from a hoax, it’s real, and so are the lasting effects. There are a lot of articles out there about all sorts of scary things adding to the ever-expanding list of horrible things that can happen after a bout with Covid. Brain issues, heart problems, lasting lung damage, strokes and clotting problems, kidney damage, cognitive issues and even possibly male infertility problems are among the possible long term or permanent effects. Some symptoms people have during Covid like shortness of breath and tiredness often last weeks or months.
It’s not that hard to put on a mask, and not that much different than wearing a seatbelt in the car. Back when wearing seatbelts first became a law in my state I was among those who hated it. I grumbled about it every time I got into the car until the day that seatbelt saved my life – about a month after that law came into effect. Ever after I was grateful for that law. It’s been so long now that most people here wouldn’t think of getting into a car without fastening that seatbelt, and masks in today’s world are just as lifesaving even if it will never be obvious as to who or when.
Some people spout drivel about their right not to wear a mask, but they wouldn’t be allowed into a store carrying a ticking time bomb, nor would they expect to be. Not wearing a mask during a pandemic could be just as deadly. There are those few who can’t wear them due to medical reasons, but then again people who already have medical issues are the last people who should be out exposing themselves to possible sources of infection and would be much better off using pick-up or delivery services to obtain the things they need.
Never has the phrase United we stand, divided we fall been so true as it is now because it will take a united effort of mass participation of everyone doing the right things to conquer this virus. Even the countries who have things under control face the risk of a resurgence if they aren’t ever-vigilant about every traveler arriving in their midst and keeping a watch on any other risk factors. If everyone wore their masks and took all the other recommended precautions like frequent hand washing/sanitizing, social distancing, and avoiding crowds or gatherings we’d have a chance of conquering the virus, but as long as some people continue to care only about themselves and not do those things this plague will continue until some sort of herd immunity is achieved or vaccine developed. In this case it not only takes a village, not even an entire country. It takes the world.