Notes on a COVID Infection

Welp, after two and a half years of dodging it, I finally managed to catch COVID-19. Some notes on the infection:

Probably BA.5 subvariant, most likely caught from sick coworker’s presymptomatic exhalations on the one day I slacked off on masking at work while in an open-air workspace people walk through and pop into occasionally. My CO2 monitor showed good airflow in the 500s and everyone seemed to be healthy, and that made me overconfident. At least one coworker was presymptomatic and another had just finished 5-day isolation and come in while still possibly contagious.

Positive Covid rapid test showing the second line at T

Symptoms started about a week after exposure with sore throat and joint aches, then proceeded quickly to fever, body aches, cough, chest congestion, diarrhea, insomnia, delirium, and extreme anger at provincial government and public health agencies for their “get back out there, go to work after 5 days, masks optional” messaging, plus locking down PCR tests to juke stats and hide outbreaks, delaying boosters for under-50s, and gatekeeping antivirals for the gerontocracy.

We all masked up at home on symptom onset with an N95 Aura before I even tested positive. Wife helped move a mattress into the Basement Isolation Room, and I lived there for two weeks. Basement had its own bathroom and a door to the backyard. Outward-facing fan in basement window provided negative pressure so none of my air was shared with the rest of the house. Wife left meals by the door for me to fetch after she vacated the basement.

Days 2-4 were worst: fever, lower respiratory congestion, hacking cough so hard it made my head hurt so it was impossible to sleep. Despite this I slept as much as I could, while still working remote the best I could.

Basement playroom set up as an isolation bedroom with a mattress ont he floor and a fan in the small window

Waking delirium gave me strange visions of a “verbal audit” in my brain: every time I spoke or had a thought I would hallucinate a ticker tape receipt being printed, with a series of scores gauging my every thought and utterance according to incomprehensible criteria. The only score I remember vividly was “StormConformance.” I do not remember any of my StormConformance rankings.

Windows stayed open most of the day for ventilation (fortunately it was late summer and not too hot or cold out) and Amy built a CR Cube with a box fan and four furnace filters. That supplemented an existing Aeramax DX5 , plus the heat pump running in ventilation mode all day; air handler was outfitted with a MERV 13 filter and a UVC light helping to disinfect the air stream.

Corsi-Rosenthal Cube consisting of four HVAC filters and a box fan

Besides [remote] work, I spent most of my waking time playing Papers Please, reading “Raft”, and watching through The Orville.

By Day 5 I felt mostly normal again except for some chest congestion and a cough, though I continued to show strongly positive on rapid tests. Stayed safe and continued to isolate: I was committed to a full two week quarantine.

Finally tested negative on a RAT as of Day 10 but stayed down in the Isolation Basement till Day 14, as I was anxious about persistent phlegmy post-nasal cough.

Our mitigation measures worked: with vaccination, isolation, ventilation, and air purification, plus respirators for rare times in shared air, I recovered quickly, and the wife and kid never caught covid from me.

Post-recovery I’m avoiding too much exercise, and getting as much rest as I can for a couple months, as strenuous activity immediately after recovery is a risk factor, so 6-8 more weeks of continued rest and generous naps.

Clover-strewn backyard with trees, hammock, and plastic toy slide

After all this I have steeled my resolve to avoid additional infections and keep my wife and kid at zero, in defiance of every covid minimizer who said “it’s just a cold now, live your life.” This wasn’t just a cold, someone “living their life” while contagious infected me, and I continue to feel effects well after recovery. It might be months or years before I know if my heart, brain, or immune system suffered long-term damage — damage I’m starting to observe in other people as society pressures them into pretending the pandemic is over.

So I will continue to [not] party like it’s 2020: masking with N95 or better respirator indoors and in crowds (though I mostly just avoid crowds), work from home when possible, improve personal air filtering at work, get updated vaccines when available, and sadly resist pressure to mingle unmasked indoors with family and friends who have abandoned caution.

Three covid tests, days 2 and 5 positive, day 10 negative

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