So I Finally Got COVID

The title sort of says it all. Three years of changing my behavior, getting criticized for still wearing a mask(which I’m not sure is anyone’s business any more than if I wore a bowler hat), my number finally came up.

It was a surprise to many people, including me. And to be honest, despite keeping up on things, I’m not an expert. I keep asking myself what chain of events led to this, but I’ll likely never figure out.

The incubation period of COVID is such that during the period I could have gotten it I was on a plane(and no one sat in the seat next to me), a train(also no one next to me), and walking around outside. Could I have been too close to someone when I took an outdoor mask break? Maybe. Who knows?

As of now, people who were close to me when I subsequently calculated I was probably contagious have not reported getting ill themselves. That was also hard for me to determine. I’ve had every COVID booster, which is supposed to reduce symptoms. And the symptoms felt like a sinus infection…which I get multiple times a year. I sniffle all year round, and there were several people where I was reporting sinus issues because of pollen that was flying around, so I made an assumption.

So, this gets to the…what do I learn from this? I’m still not sure. I don’t know how often I should test when I feel no symptoms. I didn’t go to anything when pre-testing was common etiquette. It clearly isn’t now for most people. So, I have come up with a few possible asymptomatic testing ideas and am trying to decide which to adopt.

  • Test after any plane flight or similar as a confined space with close contact.
  • Test before and after any gathering. Gathering being in close contact with a group of people for an extended period. Before to ensure not spreading anything unknowingly.
  • Test after being in an outdoor space with other people for an extended period of time.
  • Assume any respiratory illness or distress could be COVID and test.

So, I have been in isolation for 5 days as of tomorrow. The CDC has a page of advice on this. If you had symptoms, Day 0 is the day of symptom onset, regardless of your first test. Day 1 is the first full day after the symptoms start.

They advise staying at home for 5 days and isolating from others. You can end isolation after 5 days if you have no symptoms or if you have been fever free for 24 hours after Day 5.

Regardless of when you end isolation, you are supposed to, until Day 11, avoid being around high risk individuals and wear a mask. I got stuck in my parent’s guest room, and they are high risk individuals, so we’ll see what I figure out. They note that with two sequential negative tests 48 hours apart, you may remove your mask sooner than day 10.

There is also the risk of COVID Rebound. COVID rebound is defined as a recurrence of COVID symptoms and/or receiving a positive COVID test after having the disease and then testing negative. It has been reported to occur between two and eight days after initial recovery.

Of course, all of this is the advice of the US CDC. I checked the UK’s NIH website, and they don’t say anything about masks. The Canadian authorities state you should stay home until you experience no symptoms, and then wear a mask for 10 days. No wonder I’m confused.

I’m also trying to figure out the issue of cleaning…again for the benefit of high risk individuals. I have laundry piling up, and this building has a shared laundry room. So, how long before I put any laundry in? Do I disinfect the machine after? How? What do I do with things and surfaces I touched? The information on how long the virus might stay on a surface is somewhat varied. However, the general agreement is that the chance of catching COVID through surface contact is slim. Still want to clean everything though.

As an analytical person, I want to refine my behavior as a result of this, but I’m not sure exactly how. What do others think?


David Shanske

My day job is in training for an airline. I also develop Indieweb WordPress plugins so that others can take control of their online identity.

  1. I’m sorry David, I just heard from Joe today. I’ve been asymptomatic since we met up and I double checked by running a test today. It came up negative and I’ll test again tomorrow to confirm.

    I hope you’re doing ok and maybe also you can get your hands on some Paxlovid, it did wonders for my elderly mom when she caught it this summer. And also doing ok by not beating yourself up about it. I think us cautious types can sometimes take it even harder because we’ve been taking precautions, so it makes it even harder to track down a rationale that helps refine behavior.

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