Experiencing COVID-19 as a high-risk person

Bre Scott, staff writer

When news of the new strain of Coronavirus reached me, I was as guilty as any other person when I believed that it wasn’t a huge deal. As I researched a little more, I slowly became more and more worried about my friends who would definitely struggle if they caught COVID-19. One of my best friends has Muscular Dystrophy, which would give her a very, very low chance of recovery from this type of virus. Another friend of mine has very severe asthma and allergies, factors that could affect her chance of survival as well. 

Naturally, this struck a chord within me, and I was soon seen giving random people hand sanitizer and reminding my friends to wash their hands regularly. However, the fact that I, too, was at high-risk pertaining to this pandemic completely went over my head. I, an asthmatic with a lowered immune system prone to liver damage, was completely ignorant of the harm that could possibly come to me until the day Illinois schools were shut down. It should have been fairly obvious that I had a lowered risk of surviving the virus if caught; but unfortunately, many people, including myself, had not stopped to think that they were not untouchable. 

The longer quarantine lasts, the more obvious it is that many of my peers still seem to think that way. Some continue to hang out with friends outside of work, travel, attend parties, and so on; many of these same people have been seen complaining on social media about how stifling quarantine is and how they cannot wait until it ends. 

What I would like to point out, however, is that the end of legally required quarantine does not mean the end of COVID-19; COVID-19 will not simply disappear because the government decides that enough is enough. For many high-risk people, such as myself, quarantine will not end the day it ends for everyone else legally. I have decided that the best thing to do is to continue social distancing until the virus sees much lower cases before risking myself in a time that healthcare workers do not have enough supplies to take care of me. 

Not once have I left my house, besides short walks in the country, because I understand that it is the safest thing to do during the pandemic. COVID-19 has proven to spread very easily, so I would ask that everyone please follow healthcare professionals’ advice, if not for themselves, then for people who could die from this virus strain.