When COVID Came for Me

Scott Morefield, For the past seventeen months, my family and I have purposefully and strategically declined to live our lives in fear. Instead, we have lived overwhelmingly normal lives, largely ignoring the milder but still ridiculous and unnecessary COVID restrictions and mandates imposed here in eastern Tennessee.

We have traveled, flown twice, visited with family and friends, and haven’t hesitated to go anywhere in public that seemed fun to us at the time, from bowling alleys to jam-packed restaurants and bars.

Our view is that God (or fate, if that’s your thing) will determine whether or not we get COVID-19, that highly contagious respiratory viruses are gonna virus regardless of what humans can sustainably do, and that freedom-killing actions that have their own adverse effects are NOT sustainable, nor are they worth the cost for a virus that more than 99.5% of people survive.

We have also assessed the risk and chose not to take any of the available COVID vaccines. However, unlike others who will clearly judge our choice in this matter, we don’t judge others who choose to take them, and we even encourage it for some. It is and should always be a personal decision. For us, we just aren’t in any sort of high risk category with this, and at our age we are far more statistically likely to have a mild case than to be killed or even hospitalized. Plus, I’d much rather have the good old-fashioned kind of immunity, thank you very much.

Still, we aren’t anti-vaxx. In fact, as someone who hates any form of masking with the heat of a thousand suns, I truly was hoping that the vaccines would do exactly as promised and more. The idea, we were told, would be to vaccinate our way to “herd immunity,” and for a few weeks there, it seemed like it was working. Yes, as Alex Berenson kept pointing out, there was some disturbing data coming from Israel, Iceland, and other places well ahead of us on vaccines, but maybe, just maybe, it wouldn’t happen here.

But it is happening here, isn’t it? So much so that the CDC retracted its original position on useless face burkas, as if those ever did any good. The vaccinated, you see, were also contracting and spreading the virus at an alarming enough rate to ‘force’ the agency to undermine its own vaccine messaging and withdraw their promise of a normal, maskless life for those who took the jab. But we still had to take it anyway, we’re told, even though the promise has morphed from ending the pandemic to preventing one’s own severe illness and death.

But what if we already aren’t at risk of severe illness or death? Taking all factors into consideration, my wife and I decided to take our chances with the ‘ro instead of getting vaccinated or making the past year and a half unlivable by attempting to avoid it. Yet somehow, despite all that, we did avoid it … until around three weeks ago, when we could avoid it no longer.

Yes, the ‘ro came for me and my family. So we got to experience, first hand, what all the hubbub was about. I’m a middle-aged man in decent shape for my age who rarely gets even a cold. I jog more than three miles four times a week, and I eat fairly well and take lots of vitamins, including D, C, and zinc. Given all that, I expected a mild case, and if I’m completely honest, what I got was definitely MORE than I was hoping for, though still technically mild compared to the experiences of many others.

Slight to moderate fever – check. Odd loss of taste and smell – check. Debilitating cough – check. Exhaustion – check. Better days followed by worse days to the extent that I genuinely wondered when the fun, er, hell was going to end – check. But in the end, my wife and I made it through well enough, eventually, and without even the threat of needing any sort of hospitalization. Oh sure, we got meds and followed our doctor’s care. We didn’t mess with it and we certainly took our treatment seriously. But when it was all said and done, the statistics were on our side.

As someone who’s pretty much a wimp when it comes to being sick anyway, COVID was definitely its own form of hell on earth. I didn’t enjoy it, not one bit. But looking back on it after finally beginning to feel human again, would I force one person, especially a child, to wear a mask for one minute to slightly lower my own chances of going through it? Hell no.

But, you ask, what if I, my wife, or someone else in our family had defied the statistics and been a fatal outlier? Would my tune on COVID have changed? I would argue no, because anecdotes aren’t a way to do public policy. Sure, this post would probably be different, if it existed at all, but it certainly wouldn’t be a retraction of all the facts I’ve gathered over the past two years. Because facts are facts, regardless of outliers. Going in, I fully expected to recover from this without being killed or even hospitalized, and we did.

Two of our children tested positive and they sailed right through it, much easier than we did, I might add. The other two didn’t catch it at all, almost to our chagrin. (Hey, we wanted them to have that awesome natural immunity!) At four of six and the other two probably immune themselves (how could they have avoided it?), our family is now a bastion of herd immunity, a better immunity – some studies are now saying – than any vaccine could possibly provide.

There are people like us who have lived their lives as normal, and caught COVID. There are also people who, as Ron DeSantis recently said, “were hermits for a year and a half that wore six masks” … and still caught COVID. The way I see it, it is people like us who have gotten the most out of life.