I was in the same place at the same time with someone who’s tested positive for the Coronavirus. I wasn’t around this person closely and I haven’t shown symptoms in the 10 days it’s been since we were in the same place at the same time.
I was around this person on March 12. The news about COVID-19 was becoming real to everyone – Spring Break plans were being cancelled, companies were considering letting their workforce work from home and toilet paper was going missing from store shelves. We made the decision to cancel our family vacation that same day.
Some people were scared, some were annoyed. A lot believed COVID-19 was fake, just like the flu, not a big deal, whatever. But it’s not fake. It’s not just like the flu. And it is a big deal.
When I heard the news that morning, my first thought was that even though I took precautions, I might have unknowingly exposed others. I thought about all I might have exposed. As the names and faces scrolled through my mind, the fear was almost numbing.
My husband and children. My parents. My in-laws. My son and daughter’s best friends and their parents. Two coworkers. That nice lady at Costco who wiped down the check-out area before and after I paid for my groceries. Countless people working at stores I went into and others who were getting supplies, just as I was.
All these people are now at risk because I didn’t know I was at risk, too. But it could have been so many more I put at risk had our family not heeded the warnings.
Our family has made changes since March 13. I’m working from home and not going out just because I want to go. We’re practicing social distancing. We’re wiping down surfaces with disinfectant. Often. And we’re all washing our hands A LOT.
But it’s not enough.
Thousands of people will be getting sick. In the next two weeks, countless people who were exposed yesterday, today and tomorrow, will become sick and spread COVID-19 to others. Most of them will never really know who exposed them to this potentially deadly virus.
Think about all the people you’ve interacted with in the last two weeks. How many people could you have possibly exposed?
I get it. Being stuck in the house is TOUGH. Everyone’s bored. A lot of the snacks are gone. But all of that is better than getting sick with this horrible virus and exposing the people you love or who are at risk.
Be smart. Take this situation seriously. Don’t panic. Stay at home. Practice social distancing. If you absolutely must go out, buy only what you absolutely need. And wash your hands.
Brandi Chionsini is the Chairwoman of Fenice Community Media, which manages this newspaper. Her family has owned and managed community newspapers across Texas for four decades.