On July 23, 2020, I received a positive test result for COVID-19. Under direction from the clinic, I have quarantined (with my immediate family) since first recognizing a symptom of the disease. Since I have not seen many “testimonials” from those who have had the disease, I thought I would share my experience here.
- Fatigue: I slept for 3.5 to 4 hours on a Sunday afternoon, then slept well that night. For me, that was very unusual.
- Low-Grade Fever: I never registered a temperature above 99.4 degrees. This accompanied the day of my fatigue.
- Dry Cough: Every once in a while, a “tickle” in my throat would trigger the need to cough. It was not persistent or excessive. This developed the day of my fatigue.
- (Dry) Congestion: I don’t know how else to describe it. My sinuses (around my nose and eyes) seemed “full,” yet my nasal passages were clear so that I could breathe (somewhat) normally through them. Blowing my nose did not seem to produce or help. This developed early on the day after my fatigue (I recall waking up with it).
- Sore Throat: I had been doing a fair amount of public speaking the week prior to my diagnosis, and so it felt like I had merely overdone it. It was primarily in the top of my mouth and top, back of the throat. It did not hurt to swallow, and felt nothing like strep. This (seemingly) developed prior to the fatigue, so it might be considered the “first” sign (for me).
- Loss of Smell and Taste: I don’t know if this was a sudden development, but it was a sudden realization. As I attempted to use an aromatic to clear my congestion that evening, I realized I could not smell it… at all. This developed (or was realized) late in the day after my fatigue. (This has been the oddest sensation since it happened. I cannot smell or taste anything, though I can “feel” if a food is savory, spicy, peppery, or even sweet. Odd.)
I recognize that nearly everyone’s experience with this virus is different. Again, I do not mean to downplay how serious this virus can be to those who are most vulnerable. However, COVID-19 really hasn’t been that big a deal (for me).
Besides the early fatigue (which was very unusual for me even during a busy summer), I have felt relatively normal. My day-to-day activity has not been diminished (except for being quarantined, of course). I have kept a regular schedule: coffee and Bible reading first thing in the morning; going outside (in my yard) every day for walks and yard work; talking regularly with coworkers and neighbors about work and other things; working remotely from home on projects for the upcoming school year; designating a “siesta” each day beginning around 1:00 PM; and reading books.
I have upped my Vitamin C and D3 intake (4,000 mg/IU) above my normal multivitamin. I have also increased my water intake; definitely more than the 8 glasses/day suggestion. I have started taking a zinc supplement every third day. I am not suggesting these supplements are fighting or curing me of COVID-19, but I am hopeful that they are at least replenishing my body with helpful vitamins and are boosting my immune system. I have felt fine everyday.
COVID-19 is a real virus. Obviously, the virus has either killed or contributed to the death of over 147,000 Americans (and I do have friends who have lost loved ones because of this virus). Nothing that I’m about to say should be misconstrued as diminishing the value of any of those lives lost. Also, as I stated above, I am not downplaying how serious this virus can be for those who are most vulnerable to it.
That being said, having experienced this “mild” form of COVID-19 (which would put me in the category of 80% or more of all COVID-19 cases in the United States), here are some opinions I have come to hold:
- The April shutdown of the American economy was a mistake. This is hindsight, I know, so it is a little unfair. Nevertheless, vulnerable citizens (see here and here and here) should have been told to shelter in place, or self-isolate, rather than having the entire country of mostly-healthy and low-risk citizens do so. Social distancing should have been practiced with the vulnerable, not the masses. (NOTE: I do recognize a distinction between the “15 Days to Slow the Spread” in March, and the “30 Days” in April. In the former, we were still trying to gather information; in the latter, we weren’t acting on the information we gathered. Not sure what happened there, but I’ve come to see that as a mistake.)
- Mandating that masks be worn in public should have been done from the beginning. This is a touchy subject; but if masks were mandated, or even recommended, rather than the shut-down of the American economy, it might have achieved the same lowering-of-the-curve result without the economic hardship. Again, I know this is all after-the-fact, and these are theoretical options (because those weren’t the options laid out for us), but that’s what I’ve come to believe. (For what it’s worth, I support wearing masks in public. If everyone who could did, the exposure would be reduced.)
- Schools should most definitely be open this fall. Young people (especially those without pre-existing conditions) are the least affected by this virus. Sure, there’s mitigation with those at home (parents, grandparents, etc.) to think about. All of those mitigation efforts should be addressed on a case-by-case basis allowing the majority of American students to return to in-class instruction this fall.
Should we all be cavalier about this virus? No. There are others to think about.
Should we be cautious about this virus? Sure. There are others to think about: wear a mask for them if for no other reason.
Should we be cast down about this virus? Absolutely not! There are others to think about. Shutting down our way of life isn’t good for us, or them (whoever they are).
In the long run, a bad cold just isn’t worth it.