• andreasachs1

"My Child Has Covid!" Seven Parents Tell Their Stories






 

Sasha


“We all currently have Covid. So that’s pretty scary.”



Sasha and her husband live in Brooklyn. Sasha, who worked as an attorney, is now a stay-at-home parent. Her husband works in finance. They have a two-year-old daughter.


The Insider:

What has your life been like during the pandemic? Has your husband been working remotely?


Sasha:

Yes, he has worked remotely on and off during the pandemic. The pandemic has been challenging for most people, I think.


The Insider:

Have both you and your husband been vaccinated?


Sasha:

Vaccinated and boosted.


The Insider:

That’s not perfect protection, though, is it?


Sasha:

Well, it seems to protect the vaccinated person pretty well. Unfortunately, our toddler is too young to be vaccinated. We all currently have Covid. So that’s pretty scary.


The Insider:

I’m so sorry to hear that! When were you all diagnosed?


Sasha:

We tested positive over the weekend.


The Insider:

How in the world are you handling this?


Sasha:

With infants’ Tylenol and Disney+.


The Insider:

Do you have to distance from your daughter, or doesn’t it matter at this point?


Sasha:

We’re all sick, so no. And you can’t really distance from a toddler.


The Insider:

Can anyone from outside come in?


Sasha:

No.


The Insider:

Your families must be frantic with worry.


Sasha:

They’re handling it well.


The Insider:

Did one person get sick first?


Sasha:

My husband got sick first.


The Insider:

And did he know what it was right away? Was he aware of having been exposed to it?


Sasha:

He did not know what it was right away and he was not aware of having been exposed. We were somewhat surprised because we have been pretty cautious over the last couple of weeks.


The Insider:

Had you gone away over the holidays or anything?


Sasha:

Nope.


The Insider:

Are you all showing the same symptoms, or is it presenting differently in each one of you?


Sasha:

My husband and I have mild coldlike symptoms. Our daughter has a fever.


The Insider:

Are you getting medical advice now?


Sasha:

Informally, by text.


The Insider:

If an anti-vaxxer said, doesn’t this prove vaccines don’t work, what would you say?


Sasha:

I would say that I’m glad I was vaccinated because my Covid symptoms are mild, which enables me to take better care of my child.


 

Wright


“We treated her time in isolation as a mini-vacation with plenty of movie nights on the couch and ice cream each evening.”



Wright lives in Honolulu and works at a university. His wife is a psychologist. They have two daughters, 11 and nearly 7. One of their daughters tested positive for Covid in December.


The Insider:

What kinds of pandemic precautions has your family been taking?


Wright:

We are all vaccinated and so grateful for it. My wife and I got boosters as soon as we were eligible, and we vaccinated our children the minute they were allowed. Throughout the pandemic, I feel like we have taken the safest approach possible to keep our family and community safe and balance our lives to maintain some social connections. We followed the science on the precautions we took early on and continue to keep up with best practices for the variant du jour. Once home tests were available, we started using them regularly for peace of mind. We were also able to accommodate our kids being in remote classes.

I started working remotely in March 2020 and continue to telework occasionally. My wife is in healthcare and never really stopped going to her office, though most of her practice has moved online through telehealth. We are glad we have taken this approach and realize our privilege that we can have the systems in place.


The Insider:

Even with all of those precautions, a family member came down with Covid.


Wright:

Yes, our oldest daughter tested positive two days before Christmas. We have a pretty good accounting of our day-to-day interactions, and we could never figure out where she picked it up. Thankfully, she had a generally mild case. By some miracle, the rest of our family did not get it from her during her infectious window.


I think my wife and I were able to take things in stride because we knew how effective the vaccines were both for our children and us. We also tried to make intelligent decisions when our daughter was positive, like masking up as a family when we were in a room together and keeping our house wide open. Fortunately, because we live in Hawaii, we could keep all of our doors and windows wide open, so it was as close to being outside as one could get.


The Insider:

What were her symptoms while she was sick?


Wright:

She woke up on December 23 with a scratchy throat. My wife decided to give her a home antigen test then, so we knew pretty early on with her first symptoms what was going on. Over the next 48 hours, she had difficulty sleeping and had body aches, a slight headache, and a stuffy nose. Beyond that, it seemed to settle in her head, with congestion and a sore throat from post-nasal drip. She experienced it mainly as an upper respiratory illness.


The Insider:

What was your daughter’s reaction to catching Covid?


Wright:

Her heart sank a little when the home test strip showed a positive result. She said she was a bit worried about what was going to happen and revealed feeling guilty, as though she didn’t do everything perfectly to avoid getting it. We reassured her that she did nothing wrong and that all of these things that we do are to reduce the risk of transmission, but none of them are guaranteed. We also treated her time in isolation as a mini-vacation with plenty of movie nights on the couch and ice cream each evening. Between that and her realizing that she was recovering quickly, it seemed like her spirits stayed pretty high throughout the duration.


The Insider:

How did your younger daughter react to her sister being sick?


Wright:

She seemed to take things in stride. She is so used to wearing masks that it wasn’t a big deal to put one on in our house when we would hang out together.


The Insider:

Are your daughters more scared now of catching Covid?


Wright:

I don’t think they are scared, per se, and I think that’s because we haven’t lost anyone close to us, nor have we framed this pandemic as a terrifying thing. I know our oldest can conceptualize the magnitude of this pandemic, but we’ve always tried to speak honestly about the risk to kids. Our youngest doesn’t see this in terms of being scared of Covid. Both girls are more annoyed with it than anything and just want this to be over.


Are you nervous because of Covid to have your kids go to school in person?


At this point, not really. They are fully vaccinated, and their schools are doing a great job managing things in the best way possible. There is no easy answer anymore as to the threshold for what feels safe, but today, we feel that being in person at school is an acceptable level of risk.


 

Anne


“My son was sicker than I had anticipated. He had a fever for three days as high as 102.5°. He had a hard time sleeping and his body ached.”




Anne, who lives in Trumbull, Conn. Is a school nurse. Her husband is a financial advisor. They have a 17-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old son.


The Insider:

Did it come as a surprise that that your son got Covid, or did he know that he had been exposed to it?


Anne:

He knew he had been exposed. He had a friend over and a couple of days later, that friend developed a fever and was diagnosed the next day.


The Insider:

Was it upsetting to your son when he was diagnosed?


Anne:

Yes, very. He is a basketball player and he knew this would take him out of basketball for a few weeks.


The Insider:

Was the rest of your family also upset?


Anne:

I felt badly because he loves to play and I knew this meant he would have to miss a few weeks. My husband felt badly for the same reason. My daughter was just afraid she would catch it and have to miss out socially. I was not overly concerned about his health because I knew he would most likely just have mild symptoms.


The Insider:

What symptoms did he end up having?


Anne:

He was sicker than I had anticipated. He had a fever for three days as high as 102.5°. He had a hard time sleeping and his body ached. He also had a mild cough and some nasal congestion.


The Insider:

Many people have gotten blasé about getting Covid. Is there a lesson here that it’s worse than you may think?


Anne:

Yes. I think the lesson is that you just never know. While one person may have very mild symptoms, others may be more serious and you just don’t know which version you, or your children, will get. I think it’s very important that people continue to take this virus seriously.


The Insider:

Do kids share the information about being vaccinated with their friends? Would a child know that his friend had NOT been vaccinated, the way an adult likely would?


Anne:

Yes, absolutely. Kids are very open about their status.


The Insider:

Would a child be avoided or shunned for not being vaccinated? Is there social pressure?


Anne:

I think there is a little social pressure, but just a little. Kids who are vaccinated seem very proud of their status. However, I have also encountered some kids who are very proud and vocal about their unvaccinated status. I absolutely think this comes from dinnertime conversations, where if there are parents who feel strongly one way or the other, this flows down to their children and is reflected in how they feel about vaccinations. I have not yet encountered a child or teenager who is embarrassed about their status, whether vaccinated or not.


The Insider:

When your son was sick, did you try to socially distance yourselves or was that impossible?


Anne:

I did my best. I wore a mask when I went into his room and did not linger. He used a bathroom that is separate from the rest of the family. He stayed in his bedroom.


The Insider:

Are you surprised that no one else in the family caught it?


Anne:

My husband did catch it! He had a very, very mild case with a very light positive line on a home test, but we counted it as a positive. I’m suspicious that my daughter and I had it the week before. We had very mild cold symptoms and both tested negative on a home test, but we may have. We were with family two days before he tested positive and no one caught it from him there, which surprised me greatly.


The Insider:

What are you seeing as the school nurse? A lot of cases?


Anne:

Yes. Quite a few. I keep thinking it will slow down, but I’ve had one a day the last few days. My school is very small, about 150 kids, and at this point about 20 have had it in the last three weeks. Plus many family members and four staff members. Our entire staff is vaccinated. I’ve had a few vaccinated kids get it, but the majority are unvaccinated. All symptoms have been mild so far. I am finding that it is spreading quickly through families.


The Insider:

What level of school is it?


Anne:

Pre-K through 8th grade.


The Insider:

Do kids ever ask you your opinion on vaccinations, or for advice?


Anne:

Kids ask a lot of questions about why is so-and-so absent, do they have Covid? I always tell them to mind their business. They don’t ask my opinion on vaccination but are always very excited to tell me when they get vaccinated. I’ve also vaccinated many of our students and my entire staff and I know how happy they are to get the vaccines. Most of my kids don’t seem afraid to catch Covid, with a few exceptions. I do get many, many inquiries from nervous parents, however.


The Insider:

There such a push-pull right now about remote vs. In-person school. Do you think the schools should close down for the time being?


Anne:

I really don’t and I feel very strongly about this. Last year we were fully open but offered a remote option. Some of the students who stayed home all year are having an incredibly difficult time coming back. It’s a massive loss of social and emotional learning. Students need to be in school for a wide variety of reasons. Many will not get food at home or need connection with an adult because of an unstable home situation. Parents cannot miss work time. The most important reason, in my opinion, is that remote learning widens an already very wide gap in learning and opportunity in higher-income vs. lower-income areas. It is not a sustainable model for many, many families and causes a huge amount of stress for parents who cannot afford time off from work or who may not have the resources to assist their children. I think it would be a major disservice to the schoolchildren in our country.


 

Jodie


"I worry about the long-term effects of Covid, but am grateful for his quick recovery."





Jodie, who lives in New Orleans, is the aftercare director for a private school that includes nursery through eighth grade. She is divorced and has two kids, a 14-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl. Her son came down with Covid last week.


The Insider:

Are you all vaccinated?


Jodie:

Yes. I’m boosted. The kids are scheduled to be boosted, but their age was just approved.


The Insider:

What symptoms does your son have now?


Jodie:

None. On Saturday, he had a cough, fever, heavy fatigue and no appetite. On Sunday, he was almost back to himself. He’s 100% today. I worry about the long-term effects of Covid, but am grateful for his quick recovery.


The Insider:

Has he been going to school in person?


Jodie:

Yes.


The Insider:

Do you have any idea how he got it? Is he aware of having been exposed to it?


Jodie:

He’s not aware. He catches the streetcar home every day and he plays basketball and weight lifts without a mask.


The Insider:

Have a lot of his friends also gotten sick?


Jodie:

Yes, but not the ones at school. The social ones from other neighborhoods.


The Insider:

You live in a conservative state. Is the vaccination rate low there? Is that a problem for your family’s health?


Jodie:

It’s low in the state, but high here in the city. No, it’s not a problem for us.


The Insider:

Do you worry about him getting Covid again, particularly at school? Would you prefer a remote option?


Jodie:

No. He might get it again. I hope not. But although he loves remote school because he likes being home, I think in-person is best for him.


 

Susan


“At the beginning, we were treating her as if she were radioactive!”




Susan, an academic, lives with her husband and three children on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The children attend a public elementary school. Her seven-year-old daughter tested positive for Covid in the beginning of January.


The Insider:

Have your kids been going to school in person?


Susan:

They were going to school all fall, but they didn’t go to school the week before Christmas because Omicron was surging, and we wanted to minimize exposure before our long-planned holiday plans.  Already that week, we knew many families who were getting sick. We planned reluctantly for them to return to school on January 3, even though we would have much preferred a remote option just during the short Omicron surge, but right before returning to school, one of the three tested positive.  


While the other two should have continued to go to school under Department of Education policies, we didn’t think it right to expose their classes, so we kept all three home.


The Insider:

With three kids. I’m surprised they all didn’t get it!


Susan:

I am shocked, too!  And neither my husband nor I got it, either.  We were lucky in many ways to have been able to take immediate action when we learned she was positive. We had good masks that we all wore around the apartment – double-masked, in fact!  Our daughter slept and ate in a room by herself so that she was never unmasked around us. And we purchased air filters that we moved around the apartment to whichever room she was in.  We were exposed to her, of course, in the days prior to her positive test, so it’s surprising we didn’t get infected then.  But we really did try to protect ourselves after–who knows what combination of those tricks was successful? Of course, all of us are also vaccinated (and the adults boosted), which surely played some role.


The Insider:

How did you explain what was going on to her? Was she upset?


Susan:

She was very upset, and our immediate reactions surely didn’t help.  She knew very well that we had been trying for nearly two years to avoid infection at all cost. So I’m sure it was as much of a shock and disappointment to her as it was to us. But of course, it was worse for her because at the beginning, we were treating her as if she were radioactive!


She would ask us not to tell people we were talking to, or say that on Zoom calls with her friends, she didn’t want to talk about Covid. She also didn’t like having to eat alone in her room. The thing that helped the most were screens! She, and all of the kids, got a lot more screen-time on their iPads and on computers than they otherwise get.


After the immediate scramble, we did reassure her that this was, of course, not her fault. She had been absolutely diligent with masks and with all precautions. And she was incredibly responsible during the week we were isolating. She never came out of her room without her double masks, and she never complained about having to wear them. She was more diligent than any of us about wearing masks and not so much as sipping water in the same room as others.


The Insider:

God bless Zoom, right? Who would have ever thought that it could be so useful.


Susan:

She enjoyed some Zoom and FaceTime playdates with friends. One of her best friends from school had dinner with her a couple of nights over FaceTime. That really cheered her up. But given what’s possible with Zoom, it’s disappointing that the city has not made any arrangements for remote learning for students who are isolating with infection or because of exposure. Despite how easy remote learning would be as an accommodation, the city provides no instruction to kids who are isolating at home.


The Insider:

What kind of symptoms did she have? Did she have a fever?


Susan:

No! Her only symptoms were roughly 12-24 hours of some congestion and sneezing. At one point, her voice was a little raspy. That was it! Under normal circumstances, we would have thought absolutely nothing of it. The only reason we thought to test was when her sibling reported that she was sneezing throughout the night.  But she didn’t sneeze even once after the positive test.  I don’t know if we owe that to the vaccine or to luck, but I am very grateful.


The Insider:

How old are your two other children? How did they react to their sister’s situation?


Susan:

They are five and nine. I was so proud of all of them for how they handled the situation. They were concerned at first, knowing as she did that we have been so worried about exposure and getting infected. We tried to keep her isolated her in room in general, but there is no keeping these siblings apart! So we knew that wouldn’t last. We explained that they could be together if they were diligent with their masks and sat close to the air filters, for whatever that was worth, and they faithfully complied. The oldest was most diligent with her mask wearing and with following the rules. The youngest whined about having to wear the mask all the time in the apartment, because we were in the apartment all the time, but she understood it was necessary.  


When my daughter finally tested negative after a full week, her siblings were elated. I captured their reactions on video. The youngest gave her a huge hug, and the oldest couldn’t contain her joy.


The Insider:

Bottom line: Are you going to send your kids back to school now, or keep them at home?


Susan:

They have now missed two and a half weeks of school. As much as I’d like to avoid the “Petri dish” as your columnist Carly Mitchell rightfully described it, I don’t feel we have an option. So we plan to send them back tomorrow for the first time since December 20. I hope that we do not have a follow-up interview for the next child to test positive!


 

Sofia


“She was mainly upset because she had to miss school for six school days and didn’t want to.”



Sofia, who lives in Seattle, is a teacher. Her husband is also a teacher. They have an eight-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son. Their daughter caught Covid over the holidays in December.


The Insider:

Did it come as a surprise to you that your daughter had Covid?


Sofia:

Yes it did. We hadn’t been around anyone who had Covid that we knew of, and most of the time spent around others in the prior week had been outdoors: skiing, sledding, etc. That said, we spent some time with the grandparents and some uncles, and maybe one of them was contagious without knowing it. But I don’t know where she got it.


It’s also possible that my son got it before her and she got it from him. He had a runny nose for a while so he may have had Covid. When he got tested, he was negative, so we don’t know if he had it or not. My husband tested positive as well. I never did but I also think I likely had it around the same time as my daughter.


We all had mild coldlike symptoms for a day or two, on days near each other, but nothing major. It was all during school vacation. I got a rapid test before school began and tested negative. By then, I felt fine, so I didn’t get another test.


The Insider:

Nobody had any symptoms other than you would get with a cold?


Sofia:

True. My daughter’s symptoms were a small sore throat for two days and a little cough, and on one of the days she was tired and took a nap, which is rare for her. But it was also New Year’s Day and she had been up late the night before. My symptoms were a runny nose and a small sore throat and a little fatigue. My son just had a very runny nose. My husband had a little cough and slight sore throat. Again, all of these were just for a couple days.


This is similar to friends I have who have gotten Covid recently. All are vaxxed and many are boosted.


The Insider:

How did she react emotionally to having Covid.


Sofia:

She was mainly upset because she had to miss school for six school days and didn’t want to. She now tells me that she was a little scared about the fact that it was Covid, but I didn’t know that at the time. She didn’t express fear to us.


The Insider:

Are your kids in school now in-person?


Sofia:

They are. My kids’ school is open. They hope to stay that way, but they have contingency plans if needed. They test everyone weekly or more often and are doing “test to stay” for students who are close contacts of others.


The Insider:

Which would you prefer now for your kids—in-person or remote?


Sofia:

In-person.


The Insider:

Aren’t you worried about them getting sick again?


Sofia:

No. Now that they have been sick, it’s unlikely they’ll get it again right away. And if they do, it will likely be mild, and I feel like we have entered a new stage of the virus where it is less severe and we need to keep doing life. Of course, I don’t want the hospitals to be overrun, and I fully blame unvaccinated adults for that unfortunate circumstance. But we live in a highly vaccinated place, and most people are wearing masks out and about, and I think we shouldn’t go back to isolation if we can avoid it.


Being in school in person is clearly way better for most kids and families, and that’s my preference as a parent and as a teacher.


 

Alyson


“My youngest had Covid for a second time. Two New Year’s Eves in a row. She tested positive the Monday after Christmas.”




Alyson is a real estate investor and a licensed home improvement contractor. She purchases homes, oversee the remodeling and puts them back on the market. Her husband is a recruiter. They have three children, ages 13, 16 and 17.


The Insider:

Were you shocked when your daughter got sick again?


Alyson:

This time, yes. My husband and son were so sick and so I tested everyone in my house. Only my daughter was positive and the two that were actually sick had negative PCR tests. She had no symptoms.


My son who was sick is 17, and my other son is 16. Both were negative, although my 17-year-old was in bed for a week. I guess you can still get old-fashioned sick! Even though both my sons and my husband were negative and my daughter was positive, I quarantined all of them.


The Insider:

That’s mysterious! Had everyone been vaccinated?


Alyson:

Everyone is vaccinated. I am the only one in my house who has had the booster so far.

The Insider:

So your daughter probably hadn’t been vaccinated yet before her first illness, right?


Alyson:

When she had Covid last year, my husband and I had it at the same time. None of us had been vaccinated at that time.

The Insider:

How sick were all of you the first time, when you were unvaccinated?


Alyson:

My husband was the worst of the three of us. It was similar to the flu for him, for about 3-4 days. My daughter just had a slight cough and I had chest pains for one night and was tired. Back then, it was a longer quarantine so it was awful.


The Insider:

How long did your daughter need to stay home recently, even though she had no symptoms?


Alyson:

This time, the only thing my daughter suffered from was boredom. It was miserable for her. Especially because once she came out of her five days of quarantine, our school district has crazy sports rules. She was able to go back to school at Day 6, but had to get cleared by a doctor on Day 10 and then be monitored for another seven days before she was able to return to play basketball. That’s a long 17 days for a very active 13-year-old who lives for whatever sport season she is in. Ironically when she finally was able to return to play, the next day the rules changed!


It was pure torture for her, especially because she was never sick. Not even one sniffle


The Insider:

Are you worried about your kids being in a classroom at this point?


Alyson:

My oldest goes to private school and they did remote school for the week after break, which I liked. The public school went right back and people were getting Covid left and right. I’m trying to trust science.


Before break I was very worried because my daughter was contact-traced three times that week. We tested her the day before we were going to travel, because I was worried about her bringing something to my 80-year-old parents. Had online school been an option the week before or after break, I would have felt better.


I’m most worried about my 16-year-old now. My daughter should have antibodies for the near future but he doesn’t. My 17-year-old gets tested every week at school so I’m not as worried about him. My 16-year-old is in a school with 2,500 people. That alone is nerve-wracking. Adding Covid doesn’t help. But he needs to be in a classroom. His mental health is not one that can go back to online school.


It’s not how kids and even we adults and parents should be living. The anxiety that builds around it all is just awful. I told my kids that I pray this was the last worst New Year’s they ever have.

0 comments