How did you celebrate the New Year? We spent ours fighting a parasitic virus

It’s 2 a.m. on the day this paper starts getting thrown together, ‘pagination’ as my colleagues say, and by this point, I would normally have about five or six, maybe even seven articles all on the verge of completion. Thousands of words of the Listowel Banner ready to submit for your consumption.

Not this week. At this point, I have one piece nearing completion and work on this column has just begun. I hope North Perth council delivers some juicy moments this evening.

It’s usually a slow period after the holidays. Through January and sometimes even through February we can be left scrambling for stories, but that’s not what happened to me this week. Oh no, the only thing I can blame for my loss of productivity this week was a microscopic parasite. Some variant of SARS-CoV-2, better known as COVID-19 or the coronavirus. The version that blasted its way through my household may, or may not, have been the fearsome new Omicron variant, or as it has become known in our household, ‘the Necro-Omicron Ex Mortis,’ roughly translated, ‘the virus of the dead.’ We’re Evil Dead fans.

We’re among the masses that are being told just to assume our symptoms are COVID. We’re double-vaccinated, waiting eagerly for our chance to get boosted, and we all believe this battle we just fought with COVID could have been far worse had we not been vaccinated.

It hit our home as the New Year trundled in with my wife showing symptoms on New Year’s Day and two more of us presenting symptoms within 24 hours. We were able to confirm with testing later in the week that it was indeed COVID.

One of the four people in our household presented no symptoms and tested negative. Of the three of us who tested positive one had very mild symptoms and my wife and I were hit with an illness that at its peak was just slightly worse than a bad cold or flu. The worst of it lasted three days for me, five days for my wife. The lingering effects have been ongoing coughs and issues with loss of taste.

For me, the hardest part of the post-COVID battle has been regaining my focus. That’s why in the wee hours of Monday morning, I found myself sitting in front of a computer trying to force out words to fill this newspaper when I should have been sleeping. The ideas have still been flowing through my head but it’s been a chore to translate them from my mind to a Word document I can submit for publication.

There was never a moment for us where we felt hospitalization was going to be necessary. We do have a few household members with health conditions that could have been exasperated by a respiratory illness, but so far so good and we all seem to be on the mend.

This all makes me wonder what the true number of cases is for our region. As I write this the number of active cases according to is 1,081, with five of those in hospital. The number of current active cases in health care workers is listed as 27. However, on top of these known cases, there are so many cases, quite likely thanks to Omicron, that are not even being added to those statistics. On top of that, as there has been throughout the whole pandemic, there are the lucky among us who remain asymptomatic.

So, although none of my family members had a case where our health declined enough to warrant a hospital visit, I know our frontline health care workers have been taxed by the work they are doing for us during the pandemic. Our nurses, doctors, PSWs, paramedics, firefighters and other workers have been delivering the services we feel we cannot live without. I for one am grateful for the work that has been done by our health care professionals. This is not something that has changed for me during the pandemic.

I may not always seem like the best patient, but I have great respect for the health care workers who have literally kept me alive, and bandaged up my body when I needed repairs.

I’ve heard some people whom I doubt I would ever be able to convince otherwise, recently saying that health care workers are part of a great conspiracy against us. Conspiracies so ludicrous I don’t want to type them here. It’s disturbing to think people who seemed otherwise reasonable two years ago have digressed into madness during the pandemic.

So, as I sit here recuperating after winning my bout with COVID, I am grateful for the work being done to get us through these strange and trying years, and I appreciate the work being done to vaccinate us. I’ve seen friends who were hit much harder by COVID than my family was.

I’ve seen friends lose family members and I’ve seen other friends laid up in hospital throughout the pandemic.

If you have not yet been touched by the pandemic in such a way, that’s good. I’m happy for you, but to continue to downplay the seriousness of catching COVID at this point? That’s ridiculous. Stay healthy and pitch in to keep your loved ones healthy too.


Colin Burrowes is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter with Midwestern Newspapers.

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter