Sometimes things just come together, even while facing Covid. You might remember from our first episode, in a big way our podcast began when two friends, our cohosts, connected over having Covid.
On November 2nd, Raymond shared that he had tested positive for Covid-19. Caroline called to lend support because she knew what that meant far too well. She had Covid in July and Ray had reached out to share some helpful info, then, too. That's what friends do!
Here's the post that started the conversation that inspired this podcast.
Full Text Below, by Raymond McAnally on Monday, November 2, 2020
I'm posting this to let friends know that despite an abundance of caution, I have tested positive for COVID-19. That's the bad news. The good news is that I've experienced only mild symptoms to date and the true blessing is that, thus far, Whitney has tested negative. I am considered a very lucky case and I do not take that for granted. In that grateful vein, I'd like to take the time to anticipate some questions, put minds at ease, inform further, and head some unwelcome commentary off at the pass...
HOW DID YOU GET INFECTED?
In brief, we went on a vacation to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks and despite taking all precautions and wearing masks, I contracted the virus. Luckily, no one else in our four-person group did, so to me, that's a testament to our precautions. On this trip, we were around a lot of people who did not wear masks or seem to take seriously our collective health and safety. I chalk my infection up to breathing in at the wrong time, around the wrong person, who most likely had zero clue they were infected.
WHY DID YOU GET TESTED?
I came home from the trip feeling like I had a minor cold (the weather had been considerably colder in the mountains). Luckily, I stayed home because I knew my immune system was down and I wanted to get over my cold asap. When the cold didn't go away as easily as it should have, I got tested out of precaution and quarantined in our home away from Whitney. When I got my test results, we were shocked, given the lack of severity of my symptoms. Had I not followed health and safety protocols, I could have infected my wife and countless others by making assumptions about "how sick" I was. As it stands, if the doctor's timeline is correct, I am in theory passed the average number of days to still be infectious, but I don't plan on changing our quarantine until a test confirms it.
And that's the kicker, right? As a person, at my core, I feel responsible for how I affect others. The last thing I would want is to find out that I could have infected someone else and helped to spread this thing to someone whose symptoms wouldn't be as mild. I could have very easily ignored my symptoms and written them off without getting tested. An eye-opening part of my conversation with the doctor about my test results was about asymptomatic carriers and people with mild to no-symptoms furthering this and spreading it. I don't want to be that person. I don't want that red on my ledger.
ARE YOU SAFE, NOW, FROM COVID-19?
That's a no, on a few different fronts. More immediately, based on current knowledge of COVID-19 and the timeline my doctor and I put together, I have another few days to a week wherein my symptoms could get worse. I am not "out of woods" but I'm at least on the trail. In terms of long-term immunity, there is no current scientific evidence that even if I do develop antibodies, that they will protect me from getting it again, especially if I am exposed more than three months after I test positive for the antibodies. In short, this is not a one-and-done inoculation scenario and just one scientific reason why hypotheticals about "herd immunity" would be disastrous if implemented.
DON'T YOU THINK THIS PROVES THAT MASKS ARE USELESS?
No, Spanky, I don't think masks are useless because I never expected them to be 100% effective at stopping the virus. No health and safety protocol is 100% effective. That rebuttal fits nicely in the same box as "well, seat belts don't save everyone's lives, so why wear them" and "why do I have to wash my hands, I'm gonna cook the food", and "Mama, why do all these restaurants make me wear a shirt and shoes just to eat with my fangers?"
DON'T YOU THINK YOUR EXPERIENCE IS PROOF THAT THIS IS ALL OVERBLOWN?
No, because as a teenager I aced my test on the difference between anecdotal vs empirical evidence. I know enough to know that I am fortunate to have had a mild go at this thus far, both empirically and anecdotally. And if personal accounts are all that persuade you, then please know before you try to send a quip or barb, that I've personally known around 50 people who have been infected and 10 families who have lost loved ones and been unable to say goodbye in person. I'm sitting here now, unable to be in the same room as my wife because I care enough to not put her at risk. If you think wearing a mask in public puts a burden on your personal freedom, try doing it at home because you want to protect the people you love from the infection you know for certain that you already have.
WHAT'S YOUR TAKE AWAY, RAY?
We need more structure to our testing protocols and follow up to contain the spread of this virus. I think a lot of people assume that there are follow-ups and multiple tests performed at different stages once a person is found to be positive. Those assumptions are incorrect. I've had no follow-up, no calls from a local health department, and no clear request for further testing. I've read the same from others, both from friends and in articles dating all the way back to people flying home from hotspots at the start of the pandemic. We're leaving this all to the honor system when a percentage of carriers have no clue that they're spreading the virus because they "don't feel sick enough". I could very easily have been one of them. I hope my experience can help others.
I don't want to know any more families who've lost a loved one to this avoidable virus.
I don't want people out of work and to see entire industries shut down, like my own.
I don't want poor leadership who declares virus-victory while simultaneously declaring defeat, as the infection rate and death count continue to tick higher every day.
I want structure.
I want community and teamwork.
I want health and safety measures that mitigate.
I want trust and consideration for the collective good.
I want to be clear of this and to not spread it to others like it was spread to me.