Catching Patient 0
Symptoms and Spread
Everyone’s journey has been different, but all have been mercifully mild.
Both girls have been sleeping in and seem tired at the end of the day. During the day, they have been as perky as ever, with no complaints. Both girls told me they weren’t hungry at breakfast on the first positive day but appetites have been decent otherwise. One twin was a bit hot one evening, but so mild we could easily have missed it.
For hubby, it’s been like the flu. He felt a sore throat on 1/30 (2 days after kid+) but was testing negative (nasal swab). The next morning I insisted he add a throat swab and he tested dark positive. As an experiment, we also did a single nose and single throat swab and they were both very faint positive, barely visible. That day he said his sore throat was pretty bad and was feeling “not good”. He powered through work and went to bed super early at 7:30. He had a restless night with a few sweats but was back at work and functional, though tired, the next morning.
For me, it’s been like a mild cold. I had a tickle in my throat on 1/30 (2 days after kid+) but it was so subtle I wasn’t sure if I was being paranoid. On 1/31 I tested negative in the morning doing my usual dual throat/nose swab technique. But, after the throat swab experiment with hubby was so dramatically positive, I opted to re-test myself in the afternoon with a more aggressive throat swab further back in the throat. It came back positive. Since then, I’ve had a minor sore throat and minor sniffles. Energy has been so good I’m still able to work out.
My plan is for each of us to isolate until we test negative by rapid tests. Unfortunately, this will likely take roughly 10 days, based on what we know about Omicron. This is how long it took for my son to clear the virus when he was infected a month ago, and is fairly typical. Given this expectation, I’ll test each of us on Day 5, then again on Day 8, and go from there.
To me, this strategy makes the most sense scientifically, because a positive rapid test means that you are carrying a lot of virus (to the tune of millions of protein copies) and are likely contagious.
My plan is more conservative many public health guidelines. Here in BC, and in the United States, the minimum requirement is 5 days of isolation followed by 5 days of masking. This policy reflects the fact that “most” spread happens in the first 5 days, and that there is a cost to individuals and to society for isolating.
I recognize that I am privileged to have the flexibility to isolate longer in order to protect my community. Regardless of what strategy you adopt, please recognize that contagiousness does not magically turn off at 5 days, and take precautions seriously for the full ten days (or longer, if needed). Read more about COVID tests and contagiousness in this article I wrote for Dear Pandemic.
- Very mild cases can still be highly contagious. Don’t underestimate them! My little girl infected her vaxxed sister and two boosted adults.
- Early detection is the key to preventing further transmission. Stock up on rapid antigen tests if government access is limited. You can purchase tests online at a variety of sites that I have linked to in this article
- Rapid antigen tests can also be a valuable tool to figure out when it’s safe to interact with others at home and elsewhere.
- Vaccinate vaccinate vaccinate! While vaccines can’t make you bulletproof, they do reduce severe disease with every variant. Vaccines may also help to reduce long COVID, which is a wildcard we should all try to minimize.
- Take matters into your own hands to protect your community. In BC, schools guidelines are very lax right now – we are told not to test if mild and simply keep kids home if “sick”. If we had done so, who knows how many more cases we could have caused.