When someone tells you they have cancer, you feel sorry for them and offer your support.
Someone tells you they have Covid and it’s a different kettle of fish altogether.
You get a rush of emotions as the bottom falls out of your world, which is quickly overtaken by anger. This in turn is directed at yourself, or your partner, for having let your guard down as this person was considered a friend. All the care and precautions you have taken since the pandemic started have just been thwarted, and it is not your fault.
Panic sets in, scenarios of what this means and how it affects your every day living.
Help is at hand on the internet, if of course you have access to it, then again local pharmacies hold stockpiles of home kits but they are now no longer free.
Only two questions are asked, your age, and why you need a home test.
Tears threaten when you realise the potential seriousness of the situation, fear begins to creep in and you tell yourself you have no symptoms and are just playing safe. But the crux of the matter is
YOU HAVE BEEN DIRECTLY EXPOSED.
The kits are easy enough to use, though getting the seal off the test tube is difficult and you have to be careful not to get the liquid on your fingers.
Unlike a pregnancy test when there is some excited anticipation, your mind is filled with dread as you wait the necessary time for the line to appear that will seal your fate.
The relief of a negative result is enormous but your concerns are far from over. That was this time but the immediate future holds more tests, hopefully with the same result, and the fear of infection.
The mind goes into overdrive and barriers are raised.
No more socialising, not that you did much anyway and masks become as vital as your shoes and coat when you go out.
You think about the people you have come in contact with, afraid you are a spreader and don’t know it. You give everyone a wide berth, maybe even shut yourself away.
And the anger festers.
Covid doesn’t care.
It attacks anyone, any age, vaccinated or not, and it’s mutating all the time.
It can divide families, dissolve friendships, wreck relationships. It can kill.
The headlines aren’t so full of Covid as they were a year or so ago. People have relaxed their guard as restrictions have been lifted by the government and booster jabs made available to the majority of the public. But you personally continue to take precautions, especially in crowds or strange places, and avoid contact with strangers as a matter of course. Your social life is practically nil, but you are safe.
Imagine then the scenario of talking to the same person you were exposed to before and some considerable time into the conversation, they casually mention that they currently have Covid.
No warning, no mask, no apology or social distance.
The sledgehammer hits your gut and you automatically take two very large steps back.
Angry and fearful, you return home, wash, sanitise then have to wait a couple of days before taking a test, all the while praying you don’t get two lines this time.