The Inconvenience of the Pandemic Should Not Overshadow the Real Threat of COVID-19 on Our Daily Lives
If there is one thing that probably sums up how everyone in this country feels as we have crossed over into the year 2022, it would be that everyone is sick and tired of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 has become such a daily part of our lives, that we can’t do anything without taking COVID-19 into consideration.
Whether shopping at the grocery store, sending a child to school, going to work, attending a social event, or visiting family members, the impact of COVID-19 has changed the way we live.
Considering that COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, should we be concerned that many people have chosen to take their chances with COVID-19 versus what they consider to be the inconvenience of getting back to normal with their daily lives?
COVID-19 fatigue appears to be a thing.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “fatigue” is defined as:
“a state or attitude of indifference or apathy brought on by overexposure (as to a repeated series of similar events or appeals)”
Whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, there are several people who are refusing to follow the safety protocols because of the inconvenience that goes along with it.
Things like having to wear masks, seeking out places to get tested, waiting on test results, having travel restricted, vacations hindered, events cancelled, quarantining, and other life-altering changes are frustrating.
Has the fatigue of dealing with COVID-19, coupled with the level of vaccine hesitancy by many, led to the surge of the extremely contagious Omicron variant that has contributed to an increase in COVID-19 cases across the country, especially in the Greater Houston area?
The level of positive COVID-19 cases in the Greater Houston area has risen above previous rates and has reached an all-time high. The Houston Health Department recently reported that the latest rate of COVID-19 positive cases was at the highest it had been (38%) since the start of the pandemic.
On January 10th, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced that she was raising Harris County’s COVID-19 Threat Level Indicator from a Level 2 (Orange) to a Level 1 (Red).
Moving to a Level 1 (Red) signifies that there is a severe and uncontrolled level of COVID-19 transmission across Harris County.
The COVID-19 vaccine and vaccine booster continue to be offered at no charge for all Harris County residents, but that isn’t enough.
This past Tuesday, January 18th, the White House allowed people to order four free at-home COVID-19 tests per household through the government website www.COVIDtests.gov, which they state will “usually ship in 7-12 days,” but that isn’t enough.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that everyone get tested for COVID-19, especially if they have symptoms or if they have had close contact within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
The CDC also recommends that fully vaccinated people get tested five to seven days after their last exposure, and that unvaccinated people should get tested if they have been asked or referred to get tested by their school, workplace, healthcare provider, or a health department.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner recently took to social media to encourage people to get vaccinated and boosted, if they are eligible, to wear masks in public, and to get tested if they have symptoms or if they attended a gathering with people they don’t currently live with.
COVID-19 fatigue must not be allowed to dominate our current environment. The potential health implications from this pandemic should motivate everyone to do what is necessary to stay safe and avoid the negative impact of COVID-19 in our communities.
There are various FREE testing sites in the Greater Houston area, for those who need to know their status.
The Houston Health Department-affiliated sites offer free testing. Testing does not require proof of residency, citizenship, or insurance. Appointments may be required at some sites. The Health Department operates both pop-up testing sites with different locations and schedules as well as fixed testing sites with consistent schedules and locations.
Harris County Public Health (HCPH) has sites that offer free testing regardless of citizenship status and insurance. You can call 832.927.7575 for testing information.
Fort Bend County is offering free testing for Fort Bend County residents at Fort Bend County-sponsored locations. Results can take up to three to five business days. Appointments are required. Please call 281.633.7795 to schedule an appointment to be tested.
CVS is offering testing with no out-of-pocket cost through insurance, or a federal program for the uninsured. CVS says those with insurance should not have to pay any out-of-pocket costs for a covered COVID-19 test, but patients should check with their health plan to confirm. Those without insurance will need to provide their social security number, driver’s license, or state ID to submit the cost of the test to the federal program for the uninsured.
Walgreens is offering free drive-thru testing for ages 3+ at select locations. If you have insurance, you will be asked to show your insurance card at the appointment and the lab may bill your insurer. To get tested, you can complete a questionnaire online, choose a location and schedule a time for your test.
There are several other testing sites that require insurance or have a cost associated with it.
Based on the continued surge in COVID-19 cases and new variants popping up, it appears COVID-19 is here to stay. Hospital personnel, such as doctors and nurses, are inundated with increased COVID-19 cases and can’t get a break.
We owe it to those frontline workers, and those who are simply trying to survive this pandemic, to do everything in our power to place the safety of others above our temporary inconvenience if we truly hope to curtail the spread of COVID-19.