By Stephen Wilkerson, Staff Reporter
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), as I’m sure everyone is aware, is a respiratory disease that is vacationing all over the world right now. My sister-in-law got tested for COVID-19 and it came back negative, but she had to wait 11 days to find that out. I think once our city leaders realized they couldn’t be relaxed about the situation anymore, COVID-19 testing in Amarillo has been surprisingly, readily available to those who need it.
First, why did it take so long for this to be taken seriously by local authorities? And why do most people here still not take it seriously? All around Amarillo I still see non-essential businesses open, people in large groups, no one staying six feet apart, etc. Basically, people here are breaking all the rules everyone in charge is saying not to.
Second, why did my sister-in-law have to find out the results of her test after 11 days of waiting? Maybe four of those days shouldn’t be counted because it was the weekend. I mean, come on, scientists have hobbies. Who could expect them to work through a weekend here and there to make sure none of us have or don’t have COVID? *deep sigh* My working theory is that negative results take so long because the test has to rule out every possible match between the patient sample and the virus sample. Alternatively, positive results come back so quick because the match is identified immediately. The virus’ RNA sample is taken and then, separately, the patient swab sample is taken. Each sample is mixed with a special chemical, put into a machine and analyzed carefully. This is a process called polymerase chain reaction. In other words: science done by scientists. A good example to support my theory: the person considered to be the first positive case in Amarillo. After travelling to Egypt, flying back early and showing symptoms a few days later, she got tested. Her test results came back positive within a day.
So, after my sister-in-law got tested, I had to stay home from work until her results came back. It was not a big deal. Actually, it was kind of nice to be with my family, get some work done and self-quarantine. Once I returned to work about a week-and-a-half ago, I learned that a few of my co-workers had attended a birthday party over the weekend while I was staying home. Yes, a birthday party! A girl I work with wanted to have her birthday party at her friend’s apartment (I don’t know why). The friend agreed. So, pretty much everyone I work with went over for the party. Oh, and apparently, there was a hookah in attendance. What a truly bright idea to gather in a group of 10 or more, share a hookah (and God knows what else), drink alcohol (most likely from the same bottle) and not tell anyone in attendance that the friend (yes, the same friend with the apartment) has a boyfriend who has two bosses that both have confirmed cases of Coronavirus. So, of course, the girl’s boyfriend got tested. Now, everyone who was at the party can no longer work until the results come back. I hope they have to wait 11 days instead of two. Yikes. At least I’ll be getting a whole lot more hours. Sorry , that’s mean.
Please be careful. Stay home when you can. Be conscious of your social choices. Practice social distancing. If you start to show any symptoms, please speak to a doctor or go get tested. And don’t share a hookah.