John Colson: Do I have COVID? I’ll soon find out | AspenTimes.com
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John Colson: Do I have COVID? I’ll soon find out

John Colson
Hit & Run


I find myself ruefully conceding that I may well have joined this country’s 66,000-plus new daily COVID-19 victims last weekend.

That number, by the way, comes from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, which this week estimated that the number of new COVID cases per day rose by more than 64% over the prior week’s numbers in its current seven-day average count.

It is generally accepted that the current spike in COVID cases can be broadly blamed on the delta variant version of the virus, which was first noticed in India in December and has since rocketed around the world.



The delta variant is reported by health officials to be vastly more transmissible than previous versions of the disease and is more contagious than other viral agents such as the common cold, the flu, Ebola and smallpox. It also is at least as contagious as chickenpox, according internal CDC documents reportedly obtained by the New York Times.

The science is still out as to whether the delta variant is more deadly than earlier versions of COVID, though it is generally believed that fully vaccinated people will not get as sick as unvaccinated individuals.


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This is relevant in my case because I am fully vaccinated (Pfizer, if you must know, from shots administered in February and March) and have been fairly militant in avoiding public exposure.

But last week, a dear friend from California flew into Colorado and drove up to Carbondale to oversee the scattering of the ashes of his late husband, who also had been living in California for decades.

Our friend, unfortunately, showed up in Colorado showing symptoms similar to COVID’s but which also mimicked congestion, headaches and other symptoms he had developed almost every time he came to Colorado, even before the current COVID pandemic got started in late 2019.

I took my friend to get a COVID test the day after he arrived in the Roaring Fork Valley, and two days later we got the news — he had tested positive.

In the intervening days, he and about 15 friends had scattered the ashes in a beautiful mountain setting, and later attended an evening gathering for pizza, salads and beer at one participants’ home. As all of us had been vaccinated, and were unsure if our friend had COVID, we unfortunately were maskless and were hugging and clustering in close groups during these moments.

In other words, we blew it.

And now we all are awaiting test results to learn whether we are now infected and infectious.

What fun.

Don’t get me wrong — I am glad we went ahead with the scattering and the gathering, though in hindsight I know now that we might have displayed a little more common sense and cautious behavior than we did.

None of us has mentioned regret at our involvement in the activities, and we all are presuming hopefully that our vaccinated status will protect us from severe illness and death, as we have been told by the health experts.

And we all are now masking up and staying 6 to 10 feet away from strangers, because we do not want to cause any more damage, health-wise, to our neighbors and friends.

I want to press home the point that we are not “anti-vaxxers” or in any way part of the population who militantly opposes vaccines or any form of social regulation as a way to fight the COVID pandemic.

And I think we all recognize we were unacceptably sanguine about our traveling friend’s viral status, which caused us to let down our collective guard.

I debated whether to write about this in my weekly column, as I have been an outspoken critic of the “anti-vaxxing” movement and wondered if a confessional column might only add to the confusion about the pandemic, its effects and the best ways to deal with it all.

But in writing truthfully and openly about our situation, I decided, I would simply be reflecting reality as I know it, as opposed to merely parroting some politically biased misinformation culled from the internet.

My hope is that, in writing this, I can encourage at least some readers to maintain their own level of vigilance, get vaccinated and ignore all the disinformation we’ve been witnessing by so many to satisfy their rather narrow political agenda.

We truly are all in this together, and our personal actions need to reflect our concern for the health of our fellow citizens if we are going to whip this pandemic into submission, or at least into a manageable annual infection such as the regular flu.

I expect that I will take up this issue again once I get my test results, as a continuing effort to counter that disinformation we keep hearing about, and do my bit to help us overcome our pandemical predicament.

Emal at jbcolson51@gmail.com.


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