As of yesterday, Feb. 9 2024, I have tested positive for COVID-19.. again. My first experience with COVID-19 dates back to September of 2022 which followed with a bad case of mononucleosis and tonsillitis just two weeks later. Yikes. Due to my curious nature and ever-exploring mind, I decided it was only fitting to see how COVID-19 has been doing since its debut in 2020. Here’s what I’ve found:
Though the coronavirus is no longer on the news or in our thoughts, it is still as present as ever. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), 244,000 people died due to COVID-19 in 2022. From a glass-half-full perspective, this number is increasingly less than that of past years. From a glass-half-empty perspective, people are still dying. Numbers for the total COVID-19 death count of 2023 are still coming out but are looking hopeful, displaying a decline in death rate compared to 2022. Something to consider when examining such figures is that not everyone is required to report COVID-19 data anymore, meaning the statistics shown only represent the data provided. Examining available data is better than examining no data. However, what we are looking at is an incomplete picture of a huge problem.
The protocol for testing positive with COVID-19 appears to be the same as it was last year. Testing positive requires a five day isolation period, with day 0 being the day you start experiencing symptoms and day one being the first full day after symptoms occur. Once your isolation period has ended you are free to go out in public. Hurray. However, this freedom must be enjoyed with a protective and fitting mask over your face. Of course, there are special circumstances that might cause your isolation to persist longer, like not being able to break your fever without the help of medication, so make sure to check in with yourself each day. Currently, I am unable to break my fever without the help of trusty Tylenol. If this persists, my isolation will also have to persist. Fingers crossed.
Now let’s discuss my favorite part of COVID-19: the strand names. Admittedly, they are quite creative and their names resemble that of Transformers and college Greek-life groups. Seriously though, there are multiple strands of COVID-19, each with its own set of characteristics. For example, EG.5, a subvariant of Omicron, has surpassed other strands of the virus in terms of its contagiousness. Other strands include Delta, Beta and Alpha. Viruses will always mutate, but one thing holds true: getting vaccinated helps build immunity and prevents severe disease.
To say the least, COVID-19 is here and it’s not going anywhere. Keeping up your fluid intake and taking acetaminophen are essential steps in recovering from this nasty virus. As someone who lives with people, I’ve also been making sure to mask whenever I leave my room and disinfect anything I touch. COVID-19 is wildly contagious and can easily sneak up on you, so make sure to stay COVID-conscious.