Dr. Miles Cobia, a neurologist in Alabama, tweeted that he and his pregnant wife, also a physician, were tested positive with COVID-19. Their 2-year-old daughter is symptomatic and is probably also positive.
The husband and wife physicians worked in a hospital. They always wore masks and used personal protective equipment.
After visiting with extended family at a secluded lake last weekend, 8 of 11 family members (though everyone wasn’t present at the same time) were tested positive. Five of the 11 are healthcare workers.
“We did not mask while visiting with family because we let our guard down and thought we were safe. Every one of those positive have symptoms from congestion, headache, fever, malaise, myalgia, and anosmia.”
Cobia wrote that two of the positive cases are toddlers.
“My family had been largely working from home and we thought we would be safe. We were wrong.”
His story is our story.
In our war with the coronavirus, we must be vigilant. We must be careful. We must assume that if we let our guard down for just a moment and for whatever reason, we risk infection.
Mask wearing is getting a lot of attention. Some people feel that their personal liberties are taken away. Some people feel that masks should not be government mandated. Some people forget to follow the protocol.
But here’s the thing: While masks are not a panacea, they are essential for our survival — especially if we are with people who we don’t see on a regular basis. Keep in mind that if you and I are in the same space, I wear a mask to protect you; and you, hopefully, wear a mask to protect me. And even if we wear masks, we should still keep 3-6 feet away from each other.
Dr. Cobia admits he let his guard down. He’s human. The takeaway is that we must remember the essential pandemic behaviors that have been drilled into us over and over: Wear a mask. Keep physical distance. Wash your hands with soap. Cough into an elbow (or into your mask). Stay home if you don’t need to go out.
I don’t know how the pandemic will end, but I believe we can defeat the virus. We have to want it.