I’d like to talk about something I’ve been seeing among people I know, and how it relates to Covid-19.

I’ve noticed a high level of denial in people…not denial that the pandemic exists, or that it is a serious threat…but denial that anything bad could happen to them. Maybe this has been the fear of every parent who has had a teenager, dealing with their child thinking they are invincible, but that general feeling has taken over among people of all ages. I believe that feeling of being invincible is a large part of what continues the spread of this disease.

Even during this time of rising hospitalizations in the Austin area I am getting text messages to hang out with friends, to grab a drink and catch up (before the bars closed down), to go to friend’s home for dinner etc… Whenever I answer with a strong “NO” the reply back is along the lines of “It will be fine”, “I feel fine”…which I reply “You’re fine until you’re not”.
With Covid-19 people are highly contagious a few days before they even show symptoms. So someone can feel completely fine, host a dinner party, pass the virus on to their guests without realizing at all, then feel sick a few days later. A friend of mine hosted a dinner party at his home. He must have decided that socializing was more important than maintaining his health or the health of his guests, and each person in attendance must have made the same decision. As far as I know, nobody has become ill from that party, but that is quite a gamble to take. 

Similarly, a group of friends has been hanging out together going to restaurants and bars on a regular basis. One person in this group realized he had been hanging out with a friend who recently tested positive, so he let everyone in the social crew know that he was not feeling well and needed to get tested. The group of friends was really scared for a few days, and then got a text back saying that the one friend ended up with a negative test result, and then the next text was to make plans for their next group hang instead of thinking how lucky they were and possibly needing to change their behavior after a “close call”.

Another friend’s mother recently got quite sick, after many people in their church congregation tested positive for Covid-19. She refused to believe she had the illness, and my friend’s sister continued to visit their mother every day and also became sick and even lost her sense of taste and smell…but she continued to believe it was only a case of bad allergies and then went to Sea World with her husband and 3-year-old daughter.

Another example is just a few days ago a coworker from Keller Williams said we should all “be brave” and have a team lunch because she was missing us all…not only was I offended that she saw taking unnecessary risks with our health and well being as “being brave” but that she has had so much contact with various clients showing them homes and she was not even thinking about how she could possibly be in the stage of “feeling fine” while being highly contagious and then passing that on to people she was fond of and missing.

I’ve even seen text messages warning people not to allow the use of thermal temperature readers (which many places use as a safety measure although people can still pass the virus before they have a temperature) saying that those machines are putting the “mark of the Beast” on you.

These are all personal stories that I’ve seen in my daily life, and I’m just one person. I am sure all of you have similar stories within your friend groups or families. And the common theme in this is that all of these people believed that their actions were okay because they “were fine”…whether they were denying to themselves that they were sick, or that they did legitimately feel fine without thinking about the possibility they could be a few days away from no longer “feeling fine”. And when this feeling of “it will be fine” is multiplied across the entire country it contributes to spreading this disease and more people die that otherwise wouldn’t have if people had been more cautious.

It’s impossible to go back in time and change our social plans once we realize we are “no longer fine”, and that we very well may have exposed people we care about to a relatively unknown disease that could have lasting consequences…from increased risk of stroke to permanent lung damage. So for the foreseeable future I’m living by the idea of “you’re fine until you’re not” both when it comes to others and when it comes to myself, and I would encourage everyone here at CCC to do the same. Please do everything you can to keep yourselves safe during this time.

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