• Liz Lopez

My 1st COVID Holiday


Last year at this time, COVID hadn’t touched my Christmas plans. I had my friends over, tons of food, tons of drinks and nothing but goodness.

I’d been excited for Christmas since July 2020, when we decided to move to Barbados. I would miss an entire holiday season - my favorite time of year.

I would miss Thanksgiving weekend. Three days with my family, starting with Wednesday night pie baking and lasting until Friday night's games.

Saturday brings the Christmas tree hunt, the Badger game and chili with the Lopez’s.


This year went more like this: not as many people, COVID testing, something fun, puke, COVID testing, more puking and also still not as many people


Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving weekend was great until I got the flu Saturday morning, a ½ mile from the wedding shower I'd just driven over an hour to get to. I puked out my car door in the McDonald’s parking lot so literally every car in the drive thru saw me. So I came home and went to bed.

Bonus: I got a speeding ticket for SIX POINTS on the way up 😐

I slept through the Christmas tree hunt Sunday morning and was sick most of the week.


Christmas

Christmas is celebrated over the course of many days. We enjoyed the Jones family on the 18th; on the 23rd is the Lopez gift exchange; the 24th, we agreed to host the Lopez side and on the 25th, I was set to see my parents and then the other side of the Lopez family, then the Keenan family on the 26th.


Instead it went like this:

Callen puked on the way to Watertown on the 18th. We turned around and took two cars, and Lopez and Callen re-joined us after determining it was likely car sickness instead of the flu.

Omicron spreading like wildfire. We hear from Sasha and Jon, they have it. ‘We dodged a big fat bullet by my cousins asking all of us to test’ Sasha said.

Now Molly has it; Lopez just had it. The Keenan side agrees to rapid test before gatherings, starting with Appetizer contest on the 22nd.

December 23rd, Faith and I stay home from our annual gift exchange because most of the family isn't vaccinated and won't do rapid tests because that's stupid

December 24th, mid-morning, Penny pukes. By evening, Penny is trying to convince me that she’s fine. An hour later, Penny eats a mound of Puerto Rican rice, and soon after notifies me she ‘better go lie down again.’ I thank the gods that Penny wants me to stay at her side, there are so so many unvaccinated people in my living room.

December 24th, Nik tests positive for COVID.

December 25th, Christmas morning is lovely as expected AND I got my Bucks jersey, yes! We arrive at my parents around two and I'm sleeping within the hour. I'm up around six and it only takes thirty minutes to find relief by puking into the bathroom sink. Sorry, guys.

December 26th, we try again at my parents house. I’m alive, and I’m not puking, so I consider it a success.

December 28th, I feel normal again.


Super Spreader

Faith and I suggested ‘mandatory testing’ so many times I was sick of hearing our own voices; but Grandma didn't want people not showing up because they 'had to test' or 'had to wear a mask.' How considerate of you, Grandma! Thank you!

Lopez specifically asked people to test prior to their arrival, and Olga requested people wear their masks.

Lopez then pointed out the actions he took to make it as safe as possible (without actually imposing anything on anyone), which included HEPA air filters, fans pointing out, and rapid tests and masks available for their use at our front door.

But the group at large was not interested; no one responded "Sure! Thanks for hosting, we'll do what we can to make this event safe for everyone." Instead, five people wore masks the whole time: Faith, Alex, Grace, Grandma and Olga (six if you count me in my two minutes).

Four days later, seven people from the party were sick. Olga tested positive, and Grandma tested positive. We’d hosted a super spreader event and knowingly put his 87-year-old Grandma at risk.


Fake News

The devastating part about this Christmas was the total lack of awareness or consideration for the group at large. Rapid testing is literally the answer to safe gatherings, but people are offended at the mere idea of testing.

Someone actually asked "Why would I take a test if I'm not sick? If I can't even tell I'm sick, why does it matter?"


Why does it matter!? WHY DOES IT MATTER!?

Are we living under rocks here people? This information is literally EVERYWHERE!

It's all over the news, podcasts, TV; I literally cannot avoid it.

'New variant Omicron spreads like crazy; many asymptomatic patients testing positive; Flights cancelled as more staff test positive and can't work, and hospitals at capacity'

I literally have not been able to escape it!


While I appreciate that you are not worried about getting COVID, others have to test regularly and cannot afford to get it. It's not that they're 'scared of dying', it's that quarantine impacts everything.

Parents cannot afford to have their children home when they have a physical job to get to. Caretakers cannot afford to be sick while their parents have no one to look after them, and spouses would prefer not to single parent during their partner's quarantine.

(As someone who recently did just that, it was a lot).

There were some that didn't come on Christmas Eve because 'it wasn't worth it' with all the talk about COVID and testing. (They really dodged a bullet on that one though, am I right?!)


Here's why we, collectively as a house, did not want to get COVID over Christmas:

·Faith can’t miss two weeks of play rehearsal

·If Grace gets COVID, she’s out of work for two weeks - that means she doesn’t get paid and that means she can’t pay her bills on time

o (If we’re getting really pushy, her being out puts an additional burden on the already thin healthcare system, but I know that's a low priority to many)

·If Jones gets COVID, she misses Christmas with her family

·If we get COVID, New Year’s Eve is off and potentially Penny and Faith’s birthday party

·If Nik gets COVID, he and Paz cannot return to their HOME COUNTRY for at least fourteen days (which has happened, so we have new Canadian roommates, yay!)


After all we've been through and the company we've missed, what a lame ass holiday. It's New Year's Eve and instead of having our friends over, we'll be doing family game night. (Which don't get me wrong, will still be fun)

My parent's won't be joining us either, because of course, my dad has COVID. He was shocked to learn he had it (asymptomatic) and is now stuck in the basement for New Years +.

Penny and Faith have birthdays coming up, and I'm in a wedding in two weeks. In no way do I want to miss those events, plus I like hugging my family. Also, I don't want to be sick.

I just don't think that's unreasonable. So please, for the next few weeks, keep your COVID breath away from me!



And now for the holiday highlights: