This is a passionate plea to level the economic playing field so more people won't die. We're so sorry your family got COVID, Stephanie Ruhle. It's time to hold REPUBLICANS accountable for stopping the needed aid. Talking about "government" doesn't cut it.
That said, this is a good rant from someone who got it, and who gets it:
Our federal government isn't giving the incentive or the punitive consequences to influence the decisions we're making every day. Virtually no support for those who can't afford to isolate and stay at home, and no real legal action for those who refuse.
For my husband and me, COVID was like a brutal flu. Our kids, no symptoms whatsoever. Without access to rapid testing or the financial and job security to devote the last two weeks to quarantining, all of us would have spread it. Yes. The isolation days are not easy, but they're necessary. And yet, millions of people can't afford to isolate. They're walking around and don't know they have it. Or worse, they just don't care.
And we're all just crossing our fingers waiting for a vaccine. Our leaders really aren't doing much to address this crisis at the moment. Millions of people like me, we get the virus and don't need hospital care. And there is nothing forcing us to quarantine and protect our community. We keep urging people to get tested, but results take days. We're told just to isolate but how do we do that? In other parts of the world a positive COVID test puts you in a government-sponsored hotel for two weeks. Would I like that? No, but I would rather miss a holiday and a few weeks than to risk spreading the virus even more, maybe killing my extended family.
It started with my husband the day before Thanksgiving. He woke up not feeling that great. Kind of like a hangover which he's had before. But because it was right before a holiday, we took action and any other day, I don't think we would have gotten him tested. But to be safe, we did. And he tested positive. So we all immediately isolated. My husband on his own, me on my own and my three kids basically taking care of themselves, relying on friends and neighbors to drop off food at our door. I tested positive two days later. Had we not tested, our family would have potentially exposed our colleagues, our neighbors, our kid's schools. We were one day away from unknowingly potentially being super spreaders.
We are so lucky that we got tested so quickly. We are lucky to be privileged, but betting on luck is a failed national strategy.
I have all sorts of strange symptoms. Different ones every day. The worst was the fear and anxiety of what each day was to bring and who I may have infected. Fears that for me were all manageable because I'm very lucky to have great doctors who are answering my calls. And because I was able to put my life on hold and focus on my health for nearly two weeks. That is not a normal circumstance for most Americans. It's not our norm. Stress, anxiety, and confusion. Those are norms. And those are partly to blame for why the spread continues.
Take this example: somebody else who is doing the right thing. The person who cuts my hair who I had potentially exposed. She canceled her thanksgiving. She took her kids out of school. She stopped going to work and in turn, made $0 for the next nearly two weeks. She waited three hours to go get a test, a test that came back negative eight days later. That's what we're asking America to do. Do you think millions of people are doing that for real? The answer is many of them are not. And here's why. The truth is, when you have COVID like I do, you can shop. You can work. You can send your kids to school. All while spreading this virus.
And by the way, those temperature takers in gyms and restaurants, they're following the protocols. But had anyone taken my temperature or my husband's, they'd have let us in. We had no fevers. Hourly wage workers are going to work sick because they can't afford not to. Their employers are ignoring the symptoms because they're trying to keep their businesses alive and adding to the confusion, during the time I was isolating, the CDC changed the guidelines from 14 days to 10 days.
And then there are people who know they are spreading it and they don't care. I also learned that people don't want to take your call. When you're thinking you're doing the right thing and telling them you may have exposed them to the virus, they don't want to hear the potential inconvenience on them. And that is a problem. Especially when there is no one to hold them to account. Here's the truth. Millions cannot afford to deal with the virus. And millions more refuse. And we don't have a vaccine yet. This virus isn't over, and now is not the time to get complacent. Please. This is our reality.
And what is most concerning is that our government is doing very little to make these guidelines any easier to follow. The right thing is a lot easier the more privileged you are. COVID doesn't care if you're rich, poor, black, white, young, old. COVID doesn't care if it's Thanksgiving, Christmas, or your birthday, but how we manage this virus is a whole lot easier if you're lucky to have the privilege of support. The only way we can get through this is to have a system that works for everyone. And after having COVID, I know now more than ever we absolutely do not. We've got to change that. You can read more about my experience on MSNBC News online. Thank you for being here.