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Column: My holiday brush with Omicron

After feeling sick on the morning Dec. 27, I booked a PCR test for Dec. 29, which came back positive the following day. The result was hardly surprising, as my wife, brother, and a cousin I saw on Christmas Eve also tested positive that week, and all four of us had been suffering various degrees of cold and flu-like symptoms.
opinion

I recently concluded a 10-day quarantine period, courtesy of a positive COVID-19 test I received over the Christmas holidays. 

After feeling sick on the morning of Dec. 27, I booked a PCR test for Dec. 29, which came back positive. The result was hardly surprising, as my wife, brother, and a cousin I saw on Christmas Eve also tested positive that week, and all four of us had been suffering various degrees of cold-and-flu-like symptoms since then.

If my symptoms were considered mild, than I'd hate to have experienced whatever qualifies as severe. The first two days were characterized by some nasty flu-like symptoms including full-body chills, headaches, fatigue, a harsh cough, and congestion. It was very reminiscent of when I contracted mono in 2017. Thankfully, my symptoms levelled out after the first two days and the next six were pretty akin to a standard seasonal head cold. 

Worse than the symptoms themselves, however, was the guilt and nervousness I felt at the prospect of potentially and unknowingly infecting others. During my quarantine, I checked in daily with both my parents and some of my wife's family members (whom we saw on Christmas Day and Boxing Day) to inquire if they were starting to feel ill. Fortunately, they all appeared to be in the clear as of Jan. 3.

My quarantine period kept my wife and I bound to our apartment throughout the entire New Year's weekend – an isolation period that also happened to include my 28th birthday. Plans were cancelled and we ended up listening to our neighbours celebrate and count down to midnight on Dec. 31 while we laid in bed. Missing out on New Year's Eve celebrations was disappointing, but my wife and I took solace in the fact we got to spend that time together, read books, and watched plenty of movies and TV. There are certainly worse ways to spend the time. 

A silver lining of contracting COVID-19 was that it reinforced the sense of vigilance I confess I had lost after receiving my second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine last summer. While I was strict at adhering to public health restrictions during the first 16 months of the pandemic, that vigilance started to wane shortly after getting my second jab in July 2021. I'd figured I was fully protected and could do whatever I wanted after that – I went to professional sporting events, weddings, a concert, and plenty of social gatherings of various sizes.

But two doses obviously didn't protect me from contracting Omicron, which scientists claim is a more contagious, albeit mild, strain of the virus than Delta. Now, as cases continue to soar, I know I'll be more careful in the weeks ahead – at the very least until I've received my booster shot, which is booked for later this month.

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