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The creeping pink line still fills me with dread.
Every time I watch it, the viscous juice from the depths of my nasal cavity soaking up the paper, I feel a little panic as it passes the ‘T’.
Is that a line? Even just a faint one? I’ll catch my breath. The liquid would soak up a few more millimetres.
Kau. Karekau. Nope. No line. Nothing. Nada.
When the history of this pandemic is settled and sorted, and the virus has been comprehensively studied, examined, sequenced, plotted, I’m tempted to imagine scientists facing one last great mystery: How the hell did Jack Tame not catch Covid?
Honeslty, no one’s more suprised than me. Since the start of the Omicron wave in New Zealand, I have been on more than a dozen flights. I’ve travelled internationally. I’ve MC’d two funerals, which, despite Covid restrictions, are the sort of huggy-and-criey environments where people end up getting closer than they should if pandemic management is the only concern.
I’ve been in two workplaces. And although the people who sit literally right next to me in the office have caught Covid, I haven’t. I’ve done more than my share of eating in restaurants. I’ve had regular, close contact with young school children. I’ve been worn down and emotionally beat, but every morning I wake up, surprised to find myself fit and ready to fight another day.
It almost doesn’t seem real. I’ve done more than thirty RATs and so far, the results of every single test has been the same. One line. Not even a flirtation with a second. No Covid detected.
If you’re the same as me, you’ll probably know there are plenty of scientific reasons as to why we may have avoided the virus. I’m vaccinated and boosted; that helps. But maybe we’ve had it and just never experienced symptoms. Maybe our immune systems are better suited to fighting the virus. Maybe we’ve hit a genetic lottery. Maybe our mask wearing and hand washing is par excellence.
Speaking for myself, I have another theory. I think I’ve just been lucky. Although I wear an N-95 every single day, I still have clumsy moments.
The numbers are dropping. Restrictions are likely to be eased. And it’s tempting, right? It’s tempting to relax. Maybe it’s even tempting to feel a little smug. I won’t be doing that – especially with the Easter holiday just around the corner. Because surely nothing tempts fate or the Pandemic Gods like writing an nationwide editorial about not catching a highly-infectious virus.
According to the Ministry of Health, 672293 New Zealanders have tested now positive for Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic. Of course, the true number of infections is likely to be much, much higher.
If you’re like me and you still haven’t seen the line next to the ‘T’, don’t drop your guard now. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Maybe we haven’t got Covid. Good for us! But we shouldn’t get complacent, either.