To the editor:
Alexandria’s spike in COVID-19 cases in late December and the subsequent increase in hospitalizations soon after is not a story unique to our city. With the Omicron variant being highly transmissible, case numbers skyrocketed across the nation to unprecedented numbers. During this time of sickness, uncertainty, school and daycare closures and canceled travel plans, I encourage Alexandrians to band together and be kind to one another rather than create a culture of blame and divisiveness, and to think critically about the new variant since data thus far shows it is less severe than other variants.
Similar to many Alexandrians who have tried to be safe throughout the pandemic, I tested positive for COVID-19 right after the Christmas holiday. My sister’s wedding was nine days after my positive test result.
Since testing positive, the emotional distress has been much worse than the physical distress. I have been blamed for “not being careful” and the decision was made for me and my nuclear family that we could not attend the wedding – despite reading the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, talking with medical professional family members and peers and proposing a solution of testing negative before the wedding. The new NCAA winter guidelines serve as an example of why this could be a potential solution.
We do not have easy answers for situations such as these. However, what we can do is avoid blame and approach situations with kindness, a certain level of understanding and critical thinking. I am a public health professional with a Master’s of Public Health and have avidly read COVID-19 studies and news articles from the start of the pandemic.
Playing the blame game does no good, especially not now when our city and nation are facing the most transmissible variant yet. We are all trying to overcome this pandemic, so let’s not create further division and tension during this incredibly trying time.
And for those personally struggling with COVID-19 right now, know that you are not alone. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
-Raquel Davis, Alexandria