Open Letter from a Mother with Coronavirus in the Bay Area

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This is an open letter from a Mother in the Bay Area who has lived with Covid-19 for weeks now.  She, understandably wishes to remain anonymous, but we have spoken with her on the phone, and verified her story.  What she says is the truth, and it is important.  It is a story that is unfolding in communities across the Bay Area, the US, and the world, right now.  Read it, take it to heart, and stay safe out there.

Photo by Tobias Tullius on Unsplash

Let me introduce myself. I am your neighbor. I am your friend. I am a local
business owner. I am a member of our community.

We go to the same gym. We shop at the same grocery stores and eat at the
same restaurants. We shared the same row on the plane. Our families attend
the same church. Our kids go to school together.

Two weeks ago I went on a trip. A day after I returned, I became ill. I presented
with the following symptoms.. severe headache, cough, fatigue, and mild
diarrhea. I did my due diligence and went to my doctor who assured me I had
the flu. I was given a prescription, told to rest, and then carry on with life as
normal. My child and husband also had mild coughs and headaches.

I was sick in bed for four days before I returned to my office with my employees.
All three of us were back in the community for a week before we learned that
on my trip, I had been in direct contact with someone who later tested positive
for COVID-19. Upon receiving this information, my family and I went to a local
drive-up clinic and demanded to be tested. We were discouraged from doing
so because the technicians said we had the flu. We have an office with a dozen
employees working in close quarters. We all go out and work in peoples’
homes. We needed to know if we had COVID-19. After explaining the details
of our situation we were tested. Three days later the results came back and I
tested positive.

In the last 10 days or so, I have learned that several others that were on my trip,
living in other towns, have tested positive. They have families, and work in
their communities. Some had the same ‘flu’ symptoms that I had, insisted on the
test and in fact tested positive for BOTH the flu and COVID-19. Some had NO
symptoms at all and tested positive for COVID-19. This means any of us could be
walking around our communities with no symptoms, putting the people we love
and care about in danger. Today, one of my friends who tested positive lost her
father in law to this virus;

It was just reported on the news that In China 4 out of 5 people were infected
with this virus from people who did not know that they were infected!!!!
I am sharing our story publicly because two weeks ago I was not taking this
pandemic seriously. I was just like you thinking, “This virus will pass. It won’t affect
me. I am going to keep doing what I do.” I was wrong. I dread the thought of
where we will be in a week, as a global nation, if we don’t wise up to the
severity of this disease and its rapid rate of infection.

The same day my results came, our neighborhood announced the shelter in
place order, enforcing social distancing and the shutdown of all non- essential
businesses. This is such a blessing. I wish the nation would be put under this
mandate. I wish we would learn from what has happened in China and Italy
and be proactive now to stop the spread of this pandemic. I wish we would be
responsible; not only for ourselves, but for all of those that we may unknowing
infect with weak immune systems that cannot fight this virus. Lives have been
lost and many more will be if we don’t wise up to what is happening right here in
our neighborhood.

If you have to go out and you see someone on the sidewalk, go to the other
side of the road. Six feet of distance is not enough. Stay away from everyone
not living in your house. Do not send the kids to their grandparents (if you can).
This virus is killing our elderly population. Start doing this now, even if it’s not
required in your area.

We have the ability to make a difference, a difference of life or death. Please
stop! Stop working! Stop everything! Stop for those who can’t. Unfortunately, this
story will not be unique to me, in the weeks to come, this will be the same story
for many more people.

I don’t write this to scare you, to cause a panic, or to create more stress in this
time. I sit here sequestered in my house, watching people talk to each other in
close proximity on my sidewalk. Hearing stories of my friends, letting their kids
play, but only with certain people. These seemingly normal interactions in the
climate of this pandemic are irresponsible.

I have COVID-19 and I didn’t know for weeks. I walked around my
neighborhood. I went to the places you went. I hung out with the people I love
and care about, and I unknowingly spread this disease. I know this because my
employees and others I have been in contact with are now presenting with
symptoms as well. Even with this history some of our employees are not being
allowed to take the test!!!!!!

I have spent the past several days on the phone calling the hundred or so
people I have been in contact with to let them know that they may now have
this virus. I am exhausted, but I am doing my best to do the right thing as a
citizen of my community and inform the uninformed about what is really going

I know this is going to be hard for all. To stay in close quarters with your family for
so long, or to live alone and not be able to see anyone. But the sooner people
stay in, the sooner we truly social distance, the sooner we will slow down the rate
of this pandemic and save lives.

I have told all those I love and care about, to take this seriously. I write this now
because I care about you too.

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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

I'm the managing editor here at Broke-Ass Stuart. I enjoy covering Bay Area News as well as writing about Arts, Culture & Nightlife.

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