About Charly Liss

Charly Liss is an Alexandria, Virginia, activist, and a high school teacher in the Alexandria City Public Schools.

In a matter of 10 days, 6 family members, including myself and a 4-month old baby, all got COVID-19

In a matter of 10 days, 6 family members, including myself and a 4-month old baby, all got COVID-19. Six people got COVID from ONE non-family member who had not been following social distancing—that’s all it takes—one person to infect five adults and one baby. Thankfully, my family has been doing things mostly correctly in terms of social distancing, limiting how often we left the house, wearing masks (!!!), and just overall being smart in these weird times. Because of this, our points of contact post-exposure have been minimal to non-existent.

As our family was grappling with the terrifying thought of being exposed to COVID, getting tested has been an added nightmare. I got tested last Sunday at a CVS in the area after being told of our potential exposure and experiencing symptoms. The test I took was self-administered and had promised results within 6-10 days. 6-10 days to wait for a test result is completely mind boggling to me. What happens if I feel better by day 5? What happens if I get worse? Our family was on edge for 6-10 days, waiting for results from different family members. I finally got my results on Friday—after most of my symptoms had already subsided. It was negative. 

However, after a phone call with a contact tracer (arguably the only thing our government has done right in terms of this pandemic), they suggested I get retested somewhere because I “have too many COVID symptoms and too much exposure to be negative”. And yesterday, I lost my sense of smell, which pretty much means I have COVID. I’m still getting tested on Tuesday, this time it will be done by a medical professional, just to confirm I have it. At this point, there are 3 family members who have tested positive, and 3 people who are presumed positive (we all know we have it, but we’re not an official statistic yet).

To put it bluntly, this experience has been hell for our family. Our government’s response to the pandemic has been terrible. Tests shouldn’t take 6-10 days to deliver results, tests shouldn’t be self- administered (I think my false negative was because I didn’t hear the directions clearly). Testing with rapid results needs to be more accessible—I have called so many different testing sites, looking for appointments that aren’t weeks away, looking for test results that won’t take 6-10 days, and looking for sites that are “approved” by my primary physician.

Thankfully, we are all getting better—slowly, but we’re getting better. I’m lucky (?) that my only real symptom now is no smell. At some point this week, all of us, including the baby, will have had a COVID-19 test. Testing is important–especially when you can get results in 1-2 days.

And to make this even longer, to those people—especially my age, that are still going out and having sOOoooOOOo much fun going out to bars, getting meals in restaurants, taking trips, living like life is normal, I envy you. I WISH I could pretend that life was normal, but it’s hard to do that when you have to google “COVID and babies”, “COVID survival in babies”, “COVID survival rates in adults”, “chances of needing a ventilator”.

(Image Credit: Inside NOVA)