Why I Will Continue 'Overreacting' To COVID-19

by Katie Cloyd
Originally Published: 
I Would Rather Find Out Later That I Was Overreacting Than Take Any Risks When It Comes To COVID-19
Katie Cloyd/Instagram

My family is still being very cautious about COVID-19. We aren’t in full-on lockdown like we were for March, April and May, but we are being very careful. I haven’t seen most of my girlfriends since February. My kids have only played with each other for close to 4 months now. For the first three months, we rarely left the house at all. My husband got to work from home a lot of the time, and we were able to keep ourselves pretty much isolated.

Since my husband has had to return to work, I’ve had to loosen up in order to be able to get stuff done. But for me, loosening up doesn’t mean a return to business as usual.

It means my kids are in the car now when I pick up my groceries. It means that I will allow my oldest son to accompany me into the store as long as he is wearing his mask and maintaining social distance. Instead of socializing with my dads through the window, we let our kids go to their pool since it’s outdoors and they are following the same protocol as we are.

We still aren’t eating in at restaurants, taking our littlest kids into public places, shopping at peak times, or even having backyard barbecues with our friends.

Our area is basically completely back open, but my family is still sticking close to home, wearing masks, using hand sanitizer, and skipping most social interaction.

I’m feeling more and more alone, but I am holding out anyway. Until we have a solid treatment, a vaccine or actual major health organizations say it’s safe, we are not resuming business as usual.

I am not paralyzed by fear. The idea of getting COVID-19 was terrifying to me at first, but I have worked my way through a lot of that anxiety. But even though I am more comfortable than I once was, I know that science doesn’t support the conspiracy theorists who want us to believe that COVID-19 is nothing to worry about.

I have a healthy respect for this coronavirus. I realize that it’s possible to get it and be just fine afterward. But there is no rational, science-based way to conclude that a global pandemic is just NBD. COVID-19 is a big deal, and I’d rather be safe than sorry.

A lot of people think I’m being overcautious. People roll their eyes and snicker when I ask my son to stand at least 6 feet away from them in the store. People who think this virus is a conspiracy make jokes online about people like me. The number of times I’ve been called a sheep is too high to count.

Well, baa baa, I guess, because I’d rather find out later that I overreacted than take any chances when it comes to COVID-19.

I don’t want the virus for myself or my family. I don’t know how we would do with it, the long-term effects have yet to be determined, and people in all age ranges are getting really sick and even dying. No freaking thank you.

But it’s not just about us. I am just as concerned about passing it onto others. Pre-symptomatic transmission is a thing, and since we aren’t truly living in complete isolation, there’s always a chance we could be carrying the virus and not yet showing symptoms.

I don’t want to be responsible for passing this coronavirus to someone who is more vulnerable than we are. If I choose to forego my mask and trot around Target doing whatever TF I want, I could pass by an elderly woman just trying to buy laundry soap or food for her pet and inadvertently give her a death sentence.

I could even pass it to a person who seems totally healthy, and they could be the one who just doesn’t fare well and ends up on a ventilator or worse.

We can’t completely eliminate all risk, but we can do our best, and that’s what I’m committed to doing.

Do I love wearing a mask in public? No. It’s hot and annoying.

Do I love being the only person in my friend group that has barely seen anyone? Really, really no. It’s lonely.

And do I enjoy staring at the same four walls for months on end, rarely taking my kids anywhere that doesn’t involve staying in the car? NO! I am bored, the kids are driving me up the wall, and I would love to be able to gather up all my girlfriends and our 700 kids and turn them loose in someone’s yard with a bounce house and a sprinkler. I need a break.

But that’s not my reality this summer. For now, while the recommendations stand, I’m going to err to the side of caution.

Even when I see everyone around me returning to normal.

Even if none of them get the virus and it turns out I could have gone to every birthday party, barbecue, pool party and GNO and been safe.

And even if I have to stand completely alone and watch from the outside for a while.

I know the people I love understand. This commitment to safety isn’t new for me. I am a cautious, rule-following person as a general rule, and I know my people will be waiting for me when this dust settles. They’ve watched me be extra careful for my entire life, and they won’t leave me because I am taking more time to return to normal than they did.

I’m not cutting anyone out of my life or walking away from them either. I know how complicated this can feel, and I believe most reasonable people are trying to make the best choices for their families. Even the experts aren’t in clear consensus about things like returning to school in the fall. This is not easy.

It’s just that I’d rather do too much and find out later that it wasn’t strictly necessary than do too little and learn the hard way that I should have been more careful. This is what feels right to me.

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