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How The Omicron Variant Gave Me A New Outlook On COVID

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COVID has now been here for two years and is showing no interest in leaving us alone.

The latest variant, omicron, seems to be on a mission to disrupt as many “return to normal” plans as possible, as the number of infections across the country has risen dramatically. Over the past couple of months, I’ve learned of countless family members and friends who have become infected with COVID. And recently, I too have been added to that number. A weekend of what I considered “COVID conscious” socializing turned into a 101.3-degree fever, body aches reminiscent of the worst beatdown of my life and no desire to be near food, let alone eat it.

When I started feeling bad, my tribe quickly stepped in to make sure that I had all the things I needed to feel better and make it through the 10-day quarantine period, despite the CDC recommending a shorter time frame. Of course support comes with questions and opinions, so despite feeling like I was knocking on death’s window, I mentally prepared myself to rehash my weekend activities. One friend decided to challenge my mask-wearing practices and suggested that I had been “hanging around the wrong people.” These comments came from a lighthearted place and were certainly meant to be funny. However, when you’re in the middle of Omarion’s “Ice Box,” humor of this kind is just, well, cold. After removing myself from what could have turned into a sensitivity war of words, I started to think about how necessary it is to think differently in these current COVID times.

Many of us are vaccinated, boosted, mask-wearing warriors and we desire to have some sort of life because of it. We hoped that everyone would join the fight so that going outside of the house would be safe again. The reality is, despite all of our efforts, being completely safe outside is simply a fantasy. Because of many factors, COVID’s children will continue to show up and show out. When one of us guideline-following warriors tests positive for COVID, the last thing we want to hear is how we could have prevented it. Especially when we all know someone who seems to have consistently lived their best, carefree life and managed not to catch the virus, or at least not show any signs of doing so.

I am a native of Florida, and I cannot count the number of “I don’t know what’s in that vaccine,” TV dinner eating, Hennessy on the rocks drinking, pandemic party attending folks I know who seem to be immune to the virus. With this in mind, it’s time we all reconsidered scolding folks who catch the virus and consider the preventative measures they have taken. We have to lose the idea that folks catching COVID are reckless and consider that, in 2022, folks are really just trying to find normalcy in today’s never-ending cycle of chaos.

When you have done your part and followed the rules, hearing anyone suggest you could have done better is like striking a match at a gas station — someone wants you to blow. In these times we have to accept that catching COVID is almost inevitable. Our focus should be on making sure we follow the science and make conscious decisions to protect ourselves. There is no foolproof way to avoid catching covid, so be considerate of the feelings of people who do.

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