UNITED STATES—COVID is the enemy that has taught us all what it feels like to fight a hopeless war. Despite our great progress, more people are hospitalized than ever before. Around the world, hospital ICUs are at or over capacity. If you don’t have the virus and don’t personally know anyone who does, it might appear as if we are sprinting toward the finish line. But if you are one of the millions of people with the disease, or a family member of someone with the virus, you know the heartache of helplessness in the grip of a foe with no mercy.
Not everyone has the luxury of being able to shelter in place without ever leaving the castle. They have to walk their own dog, go to the store and buy their own groceries, and get in the car or on the bus for life’s necessities. They can’t afford to have all their meals catered and delivered by some service with fees that add up to 50% of the purchase. These are options for the wealthiest among us. As for the rest of us, here is the best advice based on the best available science:
Get Tested Regularly
If you go out regularly, you should get tested regularly. It is easier than ever with an at home COVID test. You can get lab-certified results within 24 to 48 hours of the labs receiving a test. You can feel confident of these tests that are FDA approved.
This puts a lot of power in your hands. You now have more options than making an appointment with a doctor, if you can get one, having the doctor evaluate your symptoms, then recommending you find a lab with testing availability. This can be very difficult and time-consuming. COVID does not wait for the testing apparatus to accommodate your need. Now, you have more control.
Testing is knowledge which provides you with the ability to protect your family and friends. If you have been exposed to the virus, you could be free of symptoms and still contagious. Everyone wants to do the right thing. With at home testing, you now have another tool to help you do just that.
Postpone Big Events
You are not the only one who is anxious to get married. You have chosen the venue and the guests and the cake-maker. All of these decisions have been made for some time. This is true for countless excited couples around the world.
The advice of professionals is to not hold these super spreader events. All big events are potentially super spreader events. Besides being good citizenship, it is also the law in many places. And law enforcement is not turning a blind eye to what is going on.
The wedding will not be a very special event if it is subject to a police raid and multiple arrests. Unfortunately, this has been the scene all too many times in 2020. As vaccinations ramp up, we have every reason to believe that 2021 will be a huge year for delayed celebrations. Make sure COVID is not on the guest list by holding out a little longer.
The U.S. government is footing the bill for every American to get an effective vaccination against the coronavirus. Lack of money will not keep anyone from getting one of the multiple vaccines on the market. There is also no evidence that the vaccine causes any illness. Unlike other vaccines, these do not actually give the patient the virus. As the number of vaccine recipients soar into the millions, we can be confident in their safety.
The usual safety caveats still apply as with any vaccine. People with strong, allergic reactions, pregnant women, and young children should consult with their doctor before taking the vaccine.
COVID feels like an immovable object. But the human spirit is an unstoppable force. This is a war that will leave us with many casualties. But it is a war that we can and will win. In fact, we are winning. You can do your part by doing responsible testing, delaying big events, and getting vaccinated as soon as possible.