I don’t have many mom friends that don’t live on the internet. So when I find a few that are palatable, whose kids get along with my kids, I try to hang onto them. Even if there are some issues (the Starbucks and Guns sticker, for starters), they’re nice and kind people, truly, and we get along. They make me happy. I’m typically able to overlook the differences to see the people underneath. At least, they put up with me, and for that, I am truly grateful. We don’t have a ton in common other than our kids, but they include me. They’re sweet people. But sweet can’t make up for being COVID-19 deniers.
I live in the South, which is currently a very dangerous COVID-19 hotspot. I understand that my kids have not seen their friends for months (since the beginning of March, actually, they have played with no one but their siblings, though my oldest has interacted with friends on Facebook Messenger Kids). I understand that it’s now been months, and that’s a hell of a long time to quarantine, and we’re all really, really sick of it. I understand that COVID-19 was really scary at the beginning, and now that we’ve been living with it for so long, it’s become a new normal: something that’s not so scary anymore if you don’t know people dying of it (because they’re isolating).
But these women? These women are straight-out COVID-19 deniers.
I Didn’t Know Until I Checked A Message Thread
I had no idea this was happening until I clicked on a Facebook message thread I hadn’t been on for months, because we use it to plan playdates, and hey! There were no playdates, so no reason to check. Except … there were playdates planned. I saw one woman asking if others wanted to go tubing on June 8th. Another woman said no, she couldn’t, because they had guests. One woman said she was picking up animals. None of these women whom I consider friends were self-isolating. They’re COVID-19 deniers. Because what else can you call people who refuse to admit that it’s dangerous to go out and interact with people when our numbers are spiking so badly?
I’ll probably get kicked off our group message for this.
I haven’t seen one of my best friends in the universe since February because he has a two-year-old and is too scared to even come to our yard. We stopped seeing my mom because she was breaking self-isolation (and what can you call my mom but a COVID-19 denier if she’s seeing other people who are seeing other people?).
Another Friend Gave Me Insight Into the Why of COVID-19 Deniers
Turns out that I have another mom friend who’s a COVID-19 denier. She told me she and her kids are starting to see “safe friends” now. WTF does “safe” mean? Is anyone who’s seeing other people “safe” when the week I’m writing this has seen the highest number of people in my state test positive for coronavirus since the virus began? Other states want people coming from my own state to self-quarantine. That’s how bad the virus is raging here. But mom friends of mine are still seeing people.
This mom friend had a backpack to drop off for me. I asked her to drop it at the bottom of our driveway, because quarantine. That’s when she told me about the “safe friends.” She said the number of people that are reported sick are only greater because we’re testing more people. There aren’t really more sick people, she argued. More people are just reporting that they have COVID-19. So we’re not actually in any more danger than we were before.
But Are Some of Them Really COVID-19 Deniers?
I know some of my friends have husbands who work, so at that point, they probably figure: why bother with self-isolation? Hubby might bring germs home anyway. At this point, are those friends really COVID-19 deniers? There’s the feeling of helplessness there: they simply can’t self-isolate, so why bother trying to self-isolate when it’s obviously not the best thing for you or your kids psychologically? One of those friends with a working husband does animal rescue work. If she chooses to self-isolate, knowing her husband already has a chance of bringing COVID-19 home, a lot of animals will go without needed care. She’s a tender soul who would feel that deeply. I know that. At that point, do you call it calculated risk? Do you live and let live?
Do I say, you’re denying the science involved in this pandemic, I can’t believe you’re risking your family’s life this way, and you need to take every single fucking precaution, because people die from COVID-19?! Because what happens if you and your spouse both get COVID-19 at the same time; who’s going to take care of your kids? Because COVID-19 is not just a bad flu?
Do I just pretend none of this ever happened?
Or do I say, you people are not only COVID-19 deniers, you’re science deniers and a public health risk, and I can’t deal with that?
I don’t really know the answer. I just know one thing.
I am definitely kicked off that message thread.