Op-Ed: Testing positive for COVID-19 during the Holidays


Image by Engin Akyurt for Pixabay

By Andrea Lopez

For months, we have all gone through waves of emotions towards COVID-19. We’ve been scared, confused and even unsure sometimes. We’ve had so many questions about what to expect if you test positive, or the right thing to do if you were exposed. All of these emotions are okay to feel because, well, we are currently living in a global pandemic.

I am sharing because I’ve felt every single one of those emotions. I’ve done my best to make sure everyone is safe, I am safe, that I’m wearing the mask, washing my hands, etc..

Like many, I’ve slowly backed off of the concern that this virus can get to someone I love or even myself.

I have tested positive for COVID-19. Even as I write this my heart sinks and I get chills. What I wish people knew about this virus is that it’s not something to be ashamed of having caught.

Since I’ve tested positive, I’ve felt shame, guilt and sadness. However, no one should ever feel the way I’ve felt.

We are in a global pandemic and although many have different beliefs on what we are living through, we are human. We should show compassion and be there for people, no matter what global situation we are in at the time. We should not be shaming people out of hand for catching COVID-19, which I’ve learned has become a thing.

It is easy to want to blame someone for being exposed and quick to judge, but it is also easy to take a minute and say “Everything will be okay.” I am guilty of being that judgmental person and I am ashamed of it.

Yes, I thought I was careful the way I needed to be, but I was exposed somewhere along the line.

It’s difficult to go back and figure out where the COVID-19 exposure could have come from. Many people are asymptomatic. Many may not even know they are carrying the virus with them and could give it to someone who can easily get sick and test positive. It takes a few days before someone starts to experience symptoms. Even when taking a test quickly after being exposed, there is still a possibility of getting a false-negative or false-positive.

With the holidays quickly approaching and the virus aggressively spreading, it is so important to continue to wear a mask, wash your hands and follow guidelines. There are many people who will be spending holidays alone, including myself. Many people are still recovering in hospitals with no visitors allowed.

Although I spent Thanksgiving in a basement alone, I was still in the comfort of a home and able to FaceTime family. The virus I feel has come back stronger in communities and it remains deathly. Realizing how present and strong the virus can be, is something I’ve needed to remember.

The experience of dealing with COVID-19, both physically and emotionally, is nothing to be ashamed of. The process of recovering from the virus should be talked about more. The physical and emotional toll of COVID-19 has turned into something that many people want to keep quiet. Sharing experiences on how to get through COVID-19 is how I am getting through the aggressive virus.

Many people experience the COVID-19 differently. Some experience loss of taste, chills and a cough. For others, it is extreme body aches, fever and headaches and chills. For me, it has been a fever, shortness of breath, chest pain, extreme fatigue and severe body aches.

One thing I know for certain is this virus is aggressive. It catches you when you least expect it and when it does, listen to your body, drink plenty of liquids and don’t stop resting. The mental and physical toll it can take on someone is hard to get through but it is possible.