Hvornår melder man afbud, og hvornår vælger man at tage afsted til et arrangement med en lille tvivl i maven?
Three recent experiences have taught me that making the responsible corona choice is not always easy
When do you cancel, and when do you choose to go to an event with a little doubt in your stomach?
“I’m calling because your son is not feeling well, so please come and pick him up at your earliest convinience.”
That´s the voicemail I received from my son’s after-school program yesterday.
Things are under control in little Denmark. In fact, the country has lifted all of their Corona restrictions. Throughout the pandemic the country has not seen the dreaded pressure on their healthcare system and the population have a pragmatic approach to getting the vaccines. Unfortunately, this is far from the case in the rest of the world.
When I received the message about my son, I was on my way to an outdoor BBQ event. The event was meant to mark the beginning of our first physical meeting in a year and a half for the members of the Advisory Committee I sit on for the Scandinavian Studies Department at the University of Washington in Seattle. I had been looking forward to the freshly caught Alaska salmon on the grill, a cool glass of wine in my hand, and reuniting and conversing with members who, like me, are passionate about promoting Scandinavia in our northwestern corner of the United States. The event was to be held outdoors and it was a requirement that everyone was vaccinated.
“You have to pick him up and take him straight to the test site,” I told my husband. “Then I’ll try to find rapid tests in the meantime.”
It quickly turned out to be quite impossible to find rapid tests anywhere. After four attempts a some phone calls, I gave up. My online order will arrive in the mail within the next two days. My son’s Corona test results will arrive within 15-48 hours. There is a lot that is different here compared to Denmark…
Maybe my son is just feeling sick because he has not been near other kids for more than a year and is now picking up bacteria. Maybe it’s just a lot to start in school and institution after staying in a house with his parents for so long without any other social stimulus. Maybe he really will test positive for the Corona virus. Maybe, maybe.
So what does one do? Do you cancel the social event that starts in less than an hour, or do you take the chance and bet that the test will come back negative?
A few weeks ago I gathered up enough courage and booked an appointment with a hairdresser. But not just any hairdresser. I asked my friend – who is a nurse and who is super diligent when it comes to being safe, her level of hygiene, etc. – which hairdresser she goes to. When I arrived, the lady was wearing a mask and was sanitizing the chair after her last costumer. “That´s a good sign,” I thought. We started conversing, as one does and I asked her if she had been vaccinated. “No,” was the answer to my great surprise. And for the time being she did not intend to do so either. “I’m sorry,” I said “I would love to support a self-employed female business owner, but I just do not feel comfortable with this.” In that situation, the choice was not difficult. It’s just hair, I can put it in a bun and almost forget that about my split ends.
Last week I went to have taken blood samples taken. Again, I started conversing the masked and gloved woman I was sharing the room with. While she was getting the needle ready, I asked about her vaccination status. I should not have done that, because while I was sitting there and watching the needle go in, she replied that she was afraid that the vaccine would affect her DNA. She was not vaccinated and did not plan to get the vaccine. I was shocked. Meeting conspiracy theories in a medical clinic in a city where more than 80% are vaccinated, is something I was pretty unprepared for.
I felt like yanking my arm away from her and rushing out of the clinic. But I stayed in my seat. And then I took a deep breath and started talking to her about the misconceptions about the vaccine without giving in to the far out indoctrination it turned out that her boyfriend had fed her. “It can be difficult to make a different choice than your surroundings if it creates conflicts at home and goes against the perception in the social circles one moves in,” I said, and she nodded.
In the state of Idaho, which borders my state of Washington here in the northwestern corner of the United States, they have just announced that, for the first time ever, they are forced to choose which Covid patients they choose to treat. The hospitals have no more capacity. Several patients have already been sent to our state. Healthcare professionals are now forced to choose to help only those citizens who have the greatest chance of survival.
The citizens here in the United States who are hardest hit are the non-vaccinated. The group consists of children under 12, those who for various health reasons can not tolerate being vaccinated and then the last group – namely vaccination opponents. 1 in 500 have died in the US – from a disease that could be prevented with two small jabs in the upper arm.
But the reality is that everyone has to make personal choices every day that weigh risks, pros and cons in their daily lives. In that equation, one can potentially risk taking another another person’s life.