We’re now approximately 3 months into the global COVID-19 pandemic and it feels both like it’s been a million years and that no time has passed. In some respects I feel like things are better, but in a lot of ways they are worse. I at least no longer cry on a daily basis and my mood swings have leveled out to some degree. But as time moves on there are new stresses and new feelings.
A lot of people in the United States seem to have decided that because they are over the virus that it’s done. I do understand that we can’t keep the economy locked down forever, but the problem is that rather than following the guidelines that are going to make re-opening things safe people are just trying to go back to the lives they were living pre-pandemic. This is a particular concern to me because I am one of the people who is at high risk from this virus. I check several of the boxes for underlying conditions that make me at a high risk from severe complications or death. The newest report from the CDC released today analyzing the data puts it in even starker contrast. 45% of people with underlying conditions who contract COVID-19 wind up hospitalized and almost 20% of them die. Those are not good odds.
I’ve been super cautious about keeping myself quarantined. My husband does all the shopping. I basically only ever leave the house to take walks in which I very carefully avoid coming into contact with other people. That’s why it makes me really mad to see people who are just completely ignoring medical guidance and doing whatever they want. It makes it much more difficult for me to even make the slightest step back out into the world. My calculus is never going to be the calculus of the general public. I get it. It sucks. I can’t expect everyone to not start living their lives safely based on appropriate guidance just because I won’t be able to, but now I feel like I can’t even expand anything.
Thursday is my birthday. Up to this point I’ve been so cautious that I haven’t even gotten take out. Given current thought that it is highly unlikely that you would catch the virus that way as long as you carefully wash your hands after touching the containers, I’m finally planning on treating myself to take out. I was even thinking about inviting one couple to come over and sit outside and celebrate with me from well over 6 feet apart. But with everyone jumping back out into things that go far beyond my comfort level I don’t even feel like I can do that anymore because now those interactions for me become much more fraught. Maybe one day I’ll feel like I can at least do that, but I’m no longer there. At least social media is keeping me apprised of who is not social distancing or interacting with too many people extending the chain of transmission, so I know who maybe one day I’ll be able to interact with.
Mostly it’s starting to feel really lonely and depressing. I feel like everyone is moving on and I’m not going to get to. This is the piece that’s worse than it was at the beginning. At that point there was still this naive sense that by summer things would be good. We could even start doing things like having concerts. Now I sadly laugh at the concerts I had tickets to that were rescheduled from March and April to later in the summer. Now they’re obviously being rescheduled to 2021 or just outright cancelled. Now there’s just what seems like this long bleak future for me. I no longer have anything to look forward to. No concerts, no travel, no theatre, no hanging out with friends, feeling increasingly like it’s unlikely I’ll even feel safe spending holidays with family especially if kids are back in school. Even though it’s obviously better that I do care and am trying to protect myself, I almost wish that I was someone who could convince myself that it’s no big deal and at least go back to some standard of normalcy like people are starting to do. I feel like the more and more things open up the more I’ll be left behind. So many things have been happening online. While it’s not ideal at least it’s something. As people actually get to go back out into the world those things will go away. Some of them already are. And then what will be left for me? I know one day we’ll get past this, but right now it feels like I’m going to be stuck forever and it’s becoming increasingly harder to deal with when I’m jealous of everyone else’s ability to move more freely through the world.