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For the Covid Longhaulers, a Plea to Refrain from Hosting Homecoming Parties

2020 October 8
by Mike Vial

Ginny says, “Wear your masks! Keep my teacher safe.”

This is a plea, from a teacher finishing week five of mask-to-mask/hybrid teaching.

I’ve now heard another family plans to host another unofficial homecoming party, this time renting a hall, so I’m going to be really blunt here:

On October 7, it’s reported another 994 people died of Covid-19 in the United States, but what I fear right now are more longhaulers.

Oh, you still don’t know that term? That’s because they haven’t gotten enough attention.

Recently, I asked three adults, ones who weren’t wearing masks correctly or at all, if they had heard of longhaulers; none of them knew this growing crisis caused by Covid.

I told them what a longhauler was, and now I’m going to tell you:

A longhauler is a person who contracts Coronavirus, and the Covid-19 symptoms don’t go away for two, four, six months. We still don’t know why.

*There are many longhaulers.*

Doctors didn’t believe these patients at first in April and May. They had to create their own support groups, often on Facebook. Epidemiologists are studying longhaulers now, since May.

Here’s the irony: The majority of long-haulers are women, between the ages of late thirties, early forties.


And more: These people were usually healthy and active before getting Coronavirus: Parents, runners, bikers, etc.

They now face long days and can’t live a normal life yet. Some days, they feel like they are getting better. They try to be a bit more active. They go for a longer walk. The next day, they can’t walk without being out of breathe. That’s just one common, longhauler symptom.

Science journalist, Ed Yong, from the Atlantic, has been reporting about it *since May.* I know three people–all musicians–who are long haulers.

When I hear about another family in a school district planning to rent a hall for an unofficial Homecoming party, I’m fearing my wife becoming a long-hauler. The last parties were attended, maskless. The photos are out there.

I’m doing what I can to protect you, my students, my staff. I bought a large room Honeywell HEPA Air Purifier for my classroom; I’m wearing an N95 mask to work now; I have not expanded my social bubble beyond my work circle; I haven’t seen a friend (beyond my colleagues) in SEVEN months; my parents have not seen their grandkids since August.

After teaching in an N95 mask all week, my face looks like a nurse after a shift at the ward. But I do it–because I mostly want to protect my wife from getting the virus.

Yet every party thrown is another chance that two weeks later, an entire classroom will be quarantined, even the school closed for a few days.

There are students barely getting by right now. I don’t want their routines disrupted. I don’t want them getting less sleep.

Please, parents, you need to be parents. We have to sacrifice now, so the physical school can continue tomorrow.


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