So Why Do I Feel Like I Could Run a 10K?
A few weeks ago, at the conclusion of my monthly video call with my college buddies, I could not contain my excitement — for the first time in a year of zooming, we had not discussed Covid-19 at all. I was ecstatic. This had to mean that we were nearing the end of the pandemic.
How wrong I was. That night, after our call, my friend reminded me that Covid had in fact come up in our discussion. And as I write this, America is going through yet another coronavirus surge that clearly demonstrates that this pandemic remains stubbornly present.
The surge is me. A few days ago, I tested positive for Covid for the second time in 16 months. Never mind that I am fully vaccinated. And that I work from home. And that I wear a mask / socially distance in public places. My wife and 15-year-old daughter who live with me tested negative. Just like they did last time that my 12-year-old daughter and I had Covid. (1)
So how do I feel physically right now? Great. Awesome. Like I could run a 10k. Both yesterday and today I did some yard work for an hour or so each day. I didn’t run yesterday because I wanted to be sure that I would stay symptomatic. Today, it was raining when I would have laced up my sneakers. (2)
Yet I will not be going to my mother-in-law’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. Or, more accurately, I will probably be going with a to-go container, and then turning around and going back home to enjoy a turkey-day dinner for one. Yesterday, my mother-in-law asked that my wife and kids stay home. Today, she changed her mind, and my wife and daughters are going to Savta’s house, sans moi.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We should be better equipped to make social decisions without obsessively consulting with our network of medical professionals or WebMD on the one hand, or throwing up our hands and caution to the wind on the other hand.
If we came up with a Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe, can’t we as a country come up with a Covid Guidebook to help us navigate through this pandemic? Shouldn’t we all be clear on what to do when Covid strikes close to home or is surging in our local communities? For example, shouldn’t there be a notification system on our cell phones for when we should get tested? Shouldn’t that notification inform us of what test should we use?
After test results come in, shouldn’t we know what to do next if we do happen to test positive: Quarantine or isolation? For how long? Family member / other close contact testing? There are many questions, for sure, but the list is not indefinite, and a roadmap would definitely help fill in many gaps.
In my present situation, for example, I personally will not be quarantining for 10 days post diagnosis per the CDC. I have arrived at this decision as best as I can as follows. Since I have never had symptoms, and know that the PCR test’s positivity could just as easily reflect an exposure that I had weeks or even months ago, I will wait five days instead of 10 to resume more “normal” activity. Yet, I will wear a mask at all times outside of the house, and maintain extra vigilance for a week. Also, I have determined that my next Covid test will be the Antigen test vs the PCR test; this is because, as I just learned, the Antigen test more accurately tests for active Covid in the system, and is a better indicator of how infectious a person is.
My Fellow Americans: We are in the first inning on Opening Day of a double (triple) header in our Covid journey. As I write this piece, a new South African variant is emerging, with likely many more to follow. There is so much more that we don’t know about this disease, than what we know about it. Let’s hope and pray that our public health officials do a better job guiding us in the months and years to come. A Covid Guidebook for all Americans would be a great place to start.
(1) Here’s what Covid was like for me last time I had it.
(2) The day after I wrote this, I beat my personal record on an in-home training app.