You never want to be the bearer of bad news, the death of a loved one, the viewing of a cheating spouse or the revelation of an STD. But now, 2020 has added a new one to the list, the big Covid reveal.
To date, I have been the bearer of bad news twice. Once after my daughters bat mitzvah where a guest became sick the next day and this week when my asymptotic daughter tested positive.
It takes a few moments to wrap your head around the idea that Covid is in your home and then to begin compiling a list of who you need to tell so that you can stop the spread. I composed a WhatsApp, trying to be informative without eliciting panic. I revealed that my daughter was seemingly healthy and asymptotic but tested positive and that they should contact their doctor to determine how to proceed. As far as I knew, by law everyone that had been in contact with my daughter for more than a certain time period needed to go into isolation, but I couldn’t bring myself to write it. I didn’t want to be the one to ruin their Chanukah vacation so I passed that mantle on to the professionals. Under moral obligation and with a heavy heart, I sent the message off to dozens of people.
As the guilt washed over me, I tried to shake it off by reminding myself that no one is to blame and that obviously my daughter unknowingly contracted it from someone who had unwittingly given it to her. She didn’t do it on purpose. Perhaps but hopefully not, my daughter also passed it on to others. Thus is the way that Covid goes from to city to city and country to country. Innocent and naive carriers pay it forward and my family did not do anything wrong.
Most people responded kindly with encouraging words such as sorry to hear, hope she is okay, how can I help, what can I bring you. They told me that they put their child into isolation and that they were taking their child for a test.
Others pried, does she have any symptoms? Who did she get it from? Is she separated from the rest of the family? And what I thought they should do. I reiterated that they should contact their doctor. I had no more information than them.
And then, there were the others. The ones that called to make sure that I didn’t report their child to Misrad Habriut because their child wasn’t really “with” my daughter. I really didn’t know what to say and I just kept saying they should consult their doctor. But the truth is, I felt extremely bullied. I suppose we can all find a rational for why we shouldn’t be in isolation. Confession, I’m certain I was also too lenient at some point this year. But to ask someone to withhold information from the Ministry of Health is a whole other level.
Isn’t there something called collective responsibility? Isn’t Covid the perfect example of “Kol Yisrael Arevim zeh la zeh” every Jewish person is responsible for the other. If you aren’t religiously inclined then look at the science which clearly shows how easily transmitted Covid is and thus how interconnected we all are, and obligated to one another, even to people thousands of miles away.
The Ministry of Health is conducting epidemiological studies to keep the whole country safe and I feel it is my obligation to be truthful and reveal as much as I can. I gave the Health Department permission to speak with my 13-year-old daughter and told her to be as truthful as she can so that no one else gets sick. Who knows who could die from withholding partial information and I do not want that on my conscience. Who knows how many more days of a lockdown will be added because people withheld information and didn’t quarantine when they should have? How many jobs will be lost by another lockdown? How many people will go hungry because I neglected to mention a name of a potential Covid spreader?
When you leave your house, you are taking a risk and in return you may have to suffer the consequences. Hopefully, the consequence will only be a 14 day quarantine at home and not a bed at the ICU.
Yes, it sucks to be stuck at home quarantined, but you suck more if you go out and endanger others.