Covid-19 Harassment – My Story

Editor’s Note – This article is from one of our OSN writers who recently tested positive for Covid-19. To protect her/his identity, we will not release their name.

Not sure how I got it. Might have been on an early-March, out-of-state ski trip. Might have been on the flights to and from. Might have been a family wedding shortly after.

I’ll never know. But I tested positive.

However, one thing I didn’t expect after testing positive for the coronavirus, was that my family and I would get harassed because of our test results.

It shocked us all.

Stay Away

A couple of weeks ago, as the social distancing orders began to spread across the nation, and with our city being designated a hotspot, we made a family decision. We packed our things and headed to our vacation home two states away. It is a place where social distancing is easy. It is in a remote part of the country and the nearest town is 20-plus miles away.

Many vacation homes, like ours, are used mainly during the summer months and the holiday season. We’re not tourists; we own property, pay taxes and support the local economy. But to the residents who live in the area year-round, we aren’t ‘locals.’

Apparently some folks didn’t appreciate our presence and voiced it over social media. They took exception to us coming from out of state and bringing the virus to ‘their’ county.. They labeled us ‘The Inconsiderates.’

Things Get Real

Next door to our property, my sister and her husband also have a home and have lived here  year-round since their retirement several years ago. They are locals. But winters can be cold and unrelenting in this area, so each March they head south for a month in the desert, taking advantage of the warm weather to rejuvenate themselves.

This year, things were different.

Midway through their stay, California issued a shelter-in-place order. Figuring that if they had to stay inside somewhere they might as well be in a place where social distancing is just a way of life, they packed the car and started the long drive back home.

Unfortunately, my brother-in-law fell ill on the journey and was taken to the local hospital immediately upon arriving back home.

He quickly succumbed to the virus and passed away just three days later, becoming the state’s first Covid-19 death.

This is when the harassment started.

Shortly after my brother-in-law passed away, the locals heard through social media that my wife and I had also tested positive for the virus.  Since we were the first three known cases in the county, and we lived next door to each other, this news rattled residents in the immediate area.

As soon as we tested positive, we were in contact on a daily basis with the local health department and given detailed instructions on how to properly quarantine and monitor our symptoms.

A couple of days later, the county nurse alerted us that these measures weren’t enough for some people living near us. We were told they had taken to social media to question why we were walking and exercising outside, all things we had been assured by doctors were acceptable during our quarantine. They felt we were putting them in danger of catching the virus (not possible) and one resident wrote, “Someone needs to do something.”

Now, this is a part of the country where the 2nd Amendment is honored to the highest degree. So hearing that someone was suggesting that something needed to be done about us made us understandably fearful.

Being harassed for getting a virus and for following all known protocols? All this while we were grieving the loss of a beloved family member? Unbelievable. 

Fortunately, the county alerted law enforcement, these people were identified, and their social media posts were removed. Health officials educated the offenders about how the virus is actually transmitted and assured them we were doing everything right to help contain the spread.

But the damage was done. We felt vulnerable on our own property.

So why am I telling you this?

I want you to know there are people out there, uninformed people, who don’t understand this virus and refuse to believe the experts. People who are willing to take things into their own hands.

We didn’t ask to catch the virus and neither did my brother-in-law. My sister surely didn’t want to lose her husband of 42 years and obviously doesn’t want to see anyone else lose a loved one. Why would we put others in danger when we know firsthand the potentially devastating outcome?

The vast majority of people we have dealt with since our diagnoses have been extraordinary in their kindness and willingness to help see us through these difficult times.

However, some people showed the damage ignorance can do.

Fortunately, we are nearly symptom free and feeling good. We are most likely on the other side of our battle.

The virus is real. Believe it. Get informed and help stop the spread.

Stay safe. Hopefully, if we all do our parts, this will be over soon.

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