The Mighty Logo

Please Stop Telling Me the Coronavirus Is 'Just Like' the Flu

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

According to the World Health Organization, the coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new viral strain in the coronavirus family that affects the lungs and respiratory system, causing symptoms like dry cough, fever and shortness of breath. COVID-19 was recently ruled a pandemic.

The coronavirus means a lot of things to a lot of people, but this is what it means to my family.

The coronavirus means saying goodbye to relatives for an unforeseen amount of time. It means seeing my dad one last time before we all go into hibernation. It means phone calls with my sister where we say we won’t see each other for weeks. It means saying goodbye with this scary unspoken hope that nothing happens to any of us between visits. My daughter Georgia is medically fragile and so is my dad. This means we all have to be on lockdown.

Coronavirus means hoping your grocery budget can be stretched while knowing you won’t be getting any help the next few weeks. It means wiping groceries down with Purell and sani-cloths. It means asking the person who delivers to be conscious of your situation and leave everything at the door. It means when you’re out, you’re out. There is no running to the store.

Coronavirus means no kissing my husband hello as he walks in the door. It means he’s forced to quarantine immediately until he’s showered and disinfected. It means he will miss many bedtimes with our child because she is medically fragile.

Coronavirus means missing out on the very few “normal” things we did. No more preschool. No more swings at the park. No more seeing friends and definitely no trips to the zoo. It means we are indoors almost 24/7 without reprieve. It means the only adult I’ll see for a long time will be my husband. It means Georgia won’t see any other child.

Coronavirus means my stepsons… my boys… they can’t come home. That says enough.

Coronavirus means missing our conference this year, the one time a year we get a family vacation. It means our loneliness is even more pronounced now. It means trying to find a way to find something normal in the midst of chaos.

Coronavirus means praying for our safety. It means praying God will find a way to provide for us. It means probably making huge leaps away from the business I’ve built or the routines we have.

This isn’t just the flu. And if you tell me it’s fine if you’re healthy, I will scream because I wish I was so lucky to be able to say everyone I know and love is healthy enough to survive this. It means my normal is being alone with my medically fragile daughter and praying to God every day my husband doesn’t bring back something awful. It means my normal is praying we stay safe and afloat. It means we are praying all the medically fragile kids just like ours are also afforded safety and care during this time.

It means that I know if resources get scarce, guess who isn’t deemed important enough for medical treatment or care — the terminally ill and those deemed “incompatible with life.” People like my daughter.

Tell me again I’ll be fine. Say it’s just the flu again. Tell me how that will make me feel better.

Concerned about coronavirus? Stay safe using the tips from these articles:

Originally published: March 15, 2020
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home