the coronavirus diaries: week 45

Up until now, Covid has felt dangerous and real, but also distant.

Not anymore. 

Yesterday, a healthy father of four — a man that my husband has worked with and whose family lives just a few miles from us — died from Covid. Just down the road, there is now a wife without a husband and four children without a father, and an entire community is stunned, reeling with heartbreak and rage. The collective grief hangs heavy. 

Over the last year, it’s seemed that the people who got Covid were hush-hush about it. I figured their secretiveness had to do with confidentiality, but then a friend who tested positive posted an article about the stigma of Covid

Apparently, there’s a shame component to getting the virus — people who get it are often viewed as having done something wrong and are therefore blamed for their illness. Which is ridiculous: some of the most careful, responsible people have contracted the virus while others who’ve blatantly disregarded every precaution have been just fine. 

Bottom line: toss the shame and share the symptoms, says the article. Covid is real — and it’s random (five members of our friend’s family tested positive, and he was the only one who had a cough, and he didn’t develop a fever until after he was in the hospital) — and the more we talk about it, frankly and openly, the better we can care for ourselves and each other. 

What with the sky-high numbers, cold weather, over-crowded hospitals, slow vaccine rollout, this new, highly-contagious strain of the virus, and now this devastating death in our community, it feels like we’re fast approaching a whole new level of the pandemic. Almost daily, I learn about another friend, or friend of a friend, who has tested positive. It’s sobering.

No, scratch that. It’s terrifying

Choices we’ve made that have, up until now, felt like reasonable risk may soon cross the line to dangerous. As a family, we’re beginning to talk about these next few months and the changes we may need to make to stay safe. 

One small ray of hope: my older son — because he’s a volunteer for the rescue squad — qualified for the Covid vaccine. One down, one to go. I am so grateful. 

photo credits: my younger daughter

This same time, years previous: the quotidian (1.13.20), full house, scandinavian sweet buns, homemade lard, the quotidian (1.11.16), cranberry bread, the quotidian (1.13.13), roll and twist, vanilla cream cheese braids, rum raisin shortbread, cranberry relish.


  • Derrelyn Phelps

    I love how well you communicate what we all have been feeling. I have a friend who got Covid (from admittedly not being safe) and now his twin sister is in the ICU fighting for her life.
    Any activity I could possibly want to do is not worth that.

    Hugs! And i’m so glad your son will be getting the vaccine! What a huge help.

  • Thrift at Home

    oh my holy word, our school district finally decided to bring kids back for in-person instruction!!! Your post gives me lots of mixed feelings. . .
    I am so sorry about your friend’s family. I have also read that COVID is unpredictable in how it acts in different people :/

  • Marie

    We’re grateful for your son!
    We need all the health care workers we can get. The ones on the front lines now are going through so much, our system will need all the support, and warm bodies, it can get for a while to come.
    I have a friend (@bicyclepies) who signs his emails “love & masks & pies”. Seems about right.
    Love & masks & pies,

  • Cheryl

    So very sorry to hear about the healthy dad of four losing his life to covid. So sad. Too many people are in denial, thinking this is the same as flu. It’s not.

    It’s just my husband and I and we pretty much stay home. My every other week trip out, masked and social distancing, is a run thru the local Aldi, throw whatever we need in the cart, toss it up on the conveyor belt, pay and and zip out the door. We load the groceries into the car from the cart…rain, snow, sleet, etc. and head home. So far so good.

    Please, stay safe. You all feel like family to me.

  • Susan

    Wow, thank you for such a thoughtful and timely post. It’s amazing to me (not in a good way) how quickly I can go from high alert to a bit complacent, and being reminded of how deadly/life-altering this disease is so important. We’ve been faced with some pandemic decision-making dilemmas (of the order of — I want to help people, but I’m not sure it’s super safe) recently and reading your post reminded me that this is no joke. Thank you.

  • Nancy

    At the moment I’m living in the Maritimes in Canada. When we had our first lockdown (middle of March to the beginning of May 2020) we were told to stay at home. We were only to go out for food or medicine or for a walk around the block.
    Only extremely essential workers were allowed to go to work and all others had to stay home. No visiting ANYONE at all. Not even walking with anyone other than those in your household.
    The parks were closed, the beaches were closed. You couldn’t drive your car to another neighborhood to take a walk. Police were out in full force and those who flouted the emergency measures were severely fined.
    Our premier had a stock saying and he’s become famous for it…..STAY THE BLAZES HOME!!! And we did.
    People coming to our province had to self-isolate for 14 days.
    All these measures had the desired effect! Our Covid numbers dropped to maybe a case or two per million people, For 5 or 6 months we’ve led a more relaxed life….restaurants reopened, beaches, parks, we could now visit with people (masks needed) and life was good! People were able to visit their loved ones in nursing homes and it was a wonderful summer!
    It’s only recently that the reins have been pulled back in again as cases are on the rise. Most of our cases are travel related….people went away for Christmas to infected areas and came back infected themselves.
    However, because we have had so few cases we are still able to do contact tracing. Online publishing of possible infection sites also helps to get people out to be tested. In my case, I read that I was in a store on the day that a Covid-positive person was there and at the same time. So, I went and got tested and self-isolated until I got my negative results.
    We also have many pop-up testing sites around the province where people voluntarily go to get tested if they have no symptoms. They want to make sure they are not carriers who are unwittingly passing Covid on to others. Thousands upon thousands of non-symptomatic people have volunteered to be tested.
    As I said, we’re now in a lockdown because of the small surge after Christmas holidays. We went up to about 65 cases per million and we were seeing a hint of community spread. With contact tracing and self-isolation our numbers are now down to 30 per million and we’re only seeing maybe 1 or 2 new cases a day. More cases are being resolved than new cases which is great!
    Because of that, our lockdown is not as sever this time. Schools are still open, as are daycares. Stores can operate with 25% capacity and restaurants are serving inside also with reduced capacity. We wear masks in public everywhere (inside).
    I think that our province has done a great job combatting Covid. It has to. We have a small population but our hospitals could so easily become overwhelmed!.
    Is it a struggle? Yes, it is! I personally haven’t seen my son and his family, any of my brothers and their families or my mother since this all began as they all live in another province. However, I stay away BECAUSE I want to see them again. Health is everything!
    Anyway, all this to say…..try to stay positive….this can’t last forever, The whole world is united in this struggle and is working towards a solution. So many people working together is a good thing!

    • Jennifer Jo

      This is both inspiring (because it shows how good leadership can make such a difference) and deeply depressing (because it highlights our country’s terrible response). Thanks for sharing!

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