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Letter to the Editor: Many are walking around with Covid unmasked

The ongoing Covid epidemic/pandemic has finally been brought home to me.  I contracted the virus by simply not following two rules and/or guidelines; wearing my mask and distancing.  It is very easy for me to mitigate my personal behavior, but the bottom line is I contracted Covid.  Which brings me to my point which is this: do those in the chain of infections bear any blame for infecting others?  Since being infected myself, and since this new wave of Omicron has been sweeping through our county, I have met people who were infected and were out in public while they were infected.  A propane delivery driver, physically sick with Covid, unmasked, but trying to deliver propane to the elderly, etc., who relied on him.  The propane driver also declared he needed the money so he couldn’t take any time off.  A single mom, who tested positive for Covid, but who needed food for her two children, and who needed to use the laundromat in Susanville.  None of those infected wore masks, and none of them announced to the people they came in contact with to stand back because they had Covid.  The person I came into contact with didn’t warn me, the person he came into contact with didn’t warn him, and so the chain of infections got made.

Conscience is defined as “an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior”.  I understand the propane driver’s behavior and I understand the single mom’s behavior. Before contracting Covid myself I was a little arrogant and naïve as to what quarantining realistically meant. First of all, when I became sick I was too sick to drive anywhere.  As the sickness progressed, I began to run out of necessities and the question became how to acquire them?  Amazon is always a good resource of course, but need sometimes cannot be satisfied by waiting for several days or a week.  I live alone so there was no one here to ask.  I was sick with Covid so I was quarantining.  There was a dilemma for sure.  My conscience was loud and clear though: stay home.  My exception to walk became my need, which I was able to square with my conscience by loudly announcing to anyone I saw that I had Covid and to stay far away.  (Walking while wearing a mask is next to impossible.)  I was never closer to anyone than the width of Peninsula Drive, and all but one person was kind and understanding.  Plus, it was always freezing outside and I doubt a virus can last for long when subjected to freezing temperatures.  But I could be ignorant on that fact.

The real point of this is to let everyone know that there are many people walking around unmasked who have Covid.  I was surprised to learn how many.  People working behind the counters at stores and gas stations are sometimes infected.   The Covid tests at Seneca Hospital tell you if you’re positive or negative, but not if you’re infectious.  Yes, that fact startled me too. And acquiring the antigen tests means breaking quarantine to get them!

The real point of this letter is that many people are walking around with Covid, unmasked, and because of their situation they do it. Now that we know this, each of us needs to double down on our commitment to mask and distance.  I will not sit in judgement of those who don’t mask or those who need to go out when infected.   I grew complacent about catching Covid and then I caught Covid.  I have since hit RESET on my attention to Covid and I urge everyone else to do so.   We cannot demand others wear masks or quarantine, and we cannot blame others if we should get sick with Covid.   Each of us must not become a link in the chain of infection.  I am getting better after 12 days of being sick, and several of those days were absolutely not mild!

So, let’s all rally around personal responsibility and personal protections, and let’s once again try to minimize this virus.

Peter Skeels

Lake Almanor

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