I hope all of my readers are healthy and safe during a time when the pandemic is getting truly scary in parts of the United States, and the world. It is particularly sobering that we had more deaths from the virus yesterday than the entire country did from terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
New York City is starting to see its hospitalizations and ICU beds used due to COVID rise. Data seems to indicate that we have a few hundred ICU beds still available and a few thousand hospital beds, but with COVID rates on the rise, as well as hospital and ICU beds used due to COVID on the rise, we should not get complacent here in New York City. If you want to track data in New York on a day-to-day basis, I highly recommend your visiting the coronavirus tracker webpage for an online newspaper called The City.
With statistics trending in the wrong direction, there are noises about more things shutting down in New York City before long. Things such as indoor dining, which have been open at a reduced capacity for the past few months, may be in danger of shutting down completely in order to try and not let this virus go too out of control again. I fear though that we may be too late–since many ignored the warnings of our public health experts with regards to behaviors during the recent Thanksgiving holiday, I expect the virus to continue to get worse in New York, and nationwide. I hope I am wrong.
I want to spend most of my post though talking about my experience with getting a COVID-19 test. I got a COVID-19 test for the first time on Sunday so I thought it was worth sharing what the experience was like…
So, to give some backstory, a couple of family members had some symptoms of COVID-19 due to something that was acting like a head cold. Even though it was acting as something no more serious than a head cold for them, I decided to get a COVID test anyway since there is some overlap between COVID symptoms and head cold symptoms.
The test itself was not too bad. Having swabs go into your nose is not the most pleasant feeling in the world, but that didn’t last for long. All in all, for a virus so serious and so deadly, it was not a particularly painful experience. Having blood drawn is to me a much more unpleasant experience than the COVID test that was administered to me.
The experience beyond the test was a lot more mixed. Positives of the experience include receiving free masks, getting free hand sanitizer (not sanitizer I personally needed, but some people do want and/or need that), and a relatively simple process to ensure that I learned the results of my test (which came back negative, by the way, so I don’t have COVID). Negatives of the experience include standing in a long line in cold weather (it was a walk-in site and not a drive-in site) and the fact that the seating area where some people were waiting for test results had some individuals who were unmasked. Overall, if I felt COVID symptoms or knowingly came into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID, I would still get a test and strongly advise people in a similar sort of situation to also get a test. That being said, I think that in order to successfully test and perform contact tracing, we need to make the COVID testing process as pleasant as possible–something that New York City is I think trying to do through the free masks and hand sanitizer, but needs to improve on through more testing sites (something which admittedly may be difficult to achieve if we do not have adequate tests available to begin with).
Hopefully, my mixed review does not scare anyone away from getting a COVID test! In spite of my mixed review of the testing experience, I am glad to have the peace-of-mind of having that negative COVID test. And, if it was found out that I tested positive, appropriate actions could be taken so that others could quarantine accordingly, and protect others yet from the virus. While the testing experience itself was not ideal, testing is important and needs to exist more widely. What’s also important is social distancing and wearing your mask over your mouth and your nose.