As of last week, I am part of an estimated 10 percent of the population that has taken the test for the coronavirus.
Fortunately, the test results were negative and I do not have the coronavirus, but I still came out of the experience with some observations about the pandemic.
First, I must give the different medical offices in Clarksdale and Coahoma County their due credit. I noticed the many options available to local residents through articles I have written, but the first-hand experience made the testing opportunities here even more apparent.
I was asymptomatic, but I went to Chicago to visit my family last week and wanted to make sure I minimized the risk of everyone in the same house. I left early in the morning Wednesday, July 1 and wanted to take the test as close as possible to that time.
I took the test the late morning of Monday, June 29. I did not know what to expect going into that experience, but it only took a few moments. Based on what I heard, I thought the test would hurt, but it didn’t. A swab was placed into one of my nostrils and it was only a little uncomfortable for a brief moment.
The call came in at around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 1 telling me I did not have the coronavirus. I was somewhere on Interstate 55 on my way to see my family. I took a chance by leaving before the results came in, but I knew if the test was positive, I would have to turn around and come back to Coahoma County. As soon as I got the news my test was negative, I was extremely excited and called my family to let them know I was on my way.
Even though everything turned out fine, my experience gave me a perspective of COVID-19 that I did not have before taking the test.
I have heard many people compare COVID-19 with the flu. Make no mistake about it; the coronavirus is much, much worse. Not even close.
When you have the flu, you have a fever, take your temperature and know you are sick within moments. Here I was completely asymptomatic and still preparing for the possibility that I could have the coronavirus.
I had to take my chances and begin traveling to Chicago early in the morning not knowing my test results. I wanted to make sure I arrived before dark if everything worked out, as it did, but because the coronavirus is so hard to detect, I could only wonder and hope. Believe me when I tell you how nervous I was until I received the good news.
Stopping the spread
When I visited my family just after the New Year during flu season, I took the flu shot about three weeks in advance. That was it and I went to see them without any worry of having to cancel my plans on the day I left. As of now, we do not have a vaccine for the coronavirus.
The coronavirus is also far more contagious than the flu and other sicknesses. You could show up to an event not knowing you have the coronavirus and infect everyone around you.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention website states, “While COVID-19 and flu viruses are thought to spread in similar ways, COVID-19 is more contagious among certain populations and age groups than flu. Also, COVID-19 has been observed to have more super-spreading events than flu. This means the virus that causes COVID-19 can quickly and easily spread to a lot of people and result in continuous spreading among people as time progresses.”
That is why we must socially distance and be six feet apart from each other whenever possible, wear masks and use hand sanitizer as much as possible. I know the scare caused me to make a greater effort going forward.
Try not to worry
Most people who have both the coronavirus and flu will be fine, but COVID-19 is much harder to control. That is why we must make an extra effort to protect those the coronavirus could be fatal to.
There is also the issue of being quarantined with the coronavirus. If you have the flu, you most likely miss a few days of work and are back to normal in no time.
If you have the coronavirus, you should be quarantined for two weeks, stay away from everyone including those who live in the same home and then get tested again to see if you are better. I was also preparing for alternative methods to make sure I had everything I needed in my home if things did not go as planned.
I am glad I do not have the coronavirus, but taking the test was a reminder of how serious the pandemic is. Let’s all do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Josh Troy is the Managing Editor of your Clarksdale Press Register. Contact him safely at 662-627-2201 with your news event.