Sanitarily Satirical: Worried sick about COVID

The house is dead silent when I begin to feel that dreadful sensation, an itch at the very base of my throat, clawing maliciously to be let out. I close my eyes and focus all my willpower on restraint, but to no avail; it gleefully reaches its destination and announces itself to the world—I cough. 

An unintelligible stream of colorful language explodes as I quickly and unabashedly descend into a spiral. My hand slaps my forehead scanning for any trace of a fever while I methodically run through every single location I’ve passed through in the last 72 hours. And, as I scramble for my phone to search up “covid symptoms” for the sixth time today, one thought races through my mind: “I’m way too young to die, right?” 

Let’s see: Despite not having left the house for three weeks except for a quick run to Target, there’s no way I could have come in contact with an infected person, unless…  Have I just been asymptomatic this whole time? Now my mind races back to every single instance I’ve had to leave the protection of my house for an errand, no matter how measly. 

How long could have I been infected and not known about it? I can’t stop pacing the room nor quell the anxiety that threatens to overtake me as I run through hard numbers. Even though I’ve double-masked every time I’ve gone out, isn’t there some possibility, no matter how slim, that the virus slipped between the layers of fabric and had the audacity to enter my body? 

No, no, no. Things simply cannot end like this. I did not sit and watch as our national government ignored the spread of the virus, as millions of people childishly went to raves and pool parties and beaches, as New York City dumped all its unclaimed corpses in a mass burial site on some creepy island. I did not watch an estimated 400,000 COVID deaths could have been prevented had people learned to accept social responsibility or as Asian Americans across the nation were killed in hate crimes because government officials couldn’t admit their own failure, to simply end up a statistic–just one more addition to the growing death count. 

But most of all, I cannot afford to have COVID because I visited my grandmother last week—both of us double-masked and socially distanced. Even the slightest risk is not an option when human lives are at stake. 

Finally, two days later and my fourth drive-through COVID test of the month comes back negative, I breathe a sigh of relief before abruptly sneezing. Completely choosing to ignore the fact that allergy season has begun making its yearly round, I dive for my phone to check the list of COVID symptoms yet again.