Shayna Abramson

Please follow the Ministry of Health guidelines

It finally happened: After a public campaign and numerous doctor’s appointments, Israel finally reopened IVF -and I was approved to start treatment.

But my happiness is muted every time that I step outside and see stores and restaurants full of people with no masks, who are not keeping 2 meters distance between them.

My worst nightmare is spending two weeks taking hormones that have all sorts of difficult side effects, only to find out, 2 days before the egg retrieval, that I’ve been in the same room as someone with Coronavirus and must go into quarantine.

If that happened, I would lose the cycle of treatment.

To face that kind of disappointment, only months after I faced the disappointment of having my IVF put on hold the day I was supposed to start, would be unbearable to me.

I’m taking precautions and plan on avoiding stores, restaurants, and indoor gatherings. But IVF requires a lot of appointments and waiting rooms, so I can’t avoid other people entirely.

The Health Ministry has decided that it is safe to go back to schools, offices, stores, and restaurants —if and only if—we do so while wearing masks and keeping 2 meters between people.

Yes, Israel’s Coronavirus numbers are low right now, but the disease is highly contagious.  If we don’t take precautions, then there could be a spike of new cases.

Wearing masks and maintaining distance is hard, but it is not as onerous as lockdown.

I’m begging you, as someone who has waited so long for the chance to resume fertility treatments and is scared of having the chance slip away, please follow the Health Ministry guidelines.

But if you don’t want to do it for me, then please do it for the cancer patient who is afraid to walk down the street. Please do it for the doctor who has been working 15 hour days in order to volunteer in Coronavirus units on top of their regular work while they are worried for their own safety. Please do it for the doctor’s families. Please do it for the grandparents who want to be able to go grocery shopping without worrying that it will result in them dying.

Yes, we are being asked to carry a burden. But that burden pales in comparison to the people whose lives would be shattered if Coronavirus cases rocketed back up because we didn’t obey the guidelines.

Is that too much to ask?

About the Author
Shayna Abramson, a part-Brazilian native Manhattanite, studied History and Jewish Studies at Johns Hopkins University before moving to Jerusalem. She has also spent some time studying Torah at the Drisha Institute in Manhattan, and has a passion for soccer and poetry. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in Political Science from Hebrew University, and is a rabbinic fellow at Beit Midrash Har'el.
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