Am I a COVID “Superdodger”? Novid for me.

Time and again I am reminded that either the media class is abnormal or I am. No, don’t enlighten me.

Apparently the media left all decided simultaneously to wonder why some people haven’t gotten covid. The Washington Post wants us to meet the covid super-dodgers which must have been the impetus for this Josh Marshall tweet, asking people who haven’t gotten covid19 to speculate as to why. Or maybe it was this insane nuttiness by an Atlantic writer trying to make sure her fiance doesn’t get covid. Slate asked every Novid they knew to explain why, and the answer was they gave up life as we know it.

I haven’t gotten covid19. Vaxxed, not boosted. I didn’t really want to get vaxxed, but I’m a teacher and I was certain it would become a thing, a moral demand to get vaxxed, and once that happened I’m so stubborn I’d be like oh, fuck you people and never get vaxxed and either be not allowed to teach or go through testing every week. Ick. So I got vaxxed in March 2021 caring not one bit and mildly irritated at myself for giving in. But my reasoning was sound. By summer, I would have been like oh fuck you people and then I would have been forced into covid tests every week.

I travelled everywhere. Took my dad on a fishing trip. Visited my sister several times. Road and air. The only good thing about the 20 months spent teaching remote was that I could do it from anywhere, and I did. While restaurants were legally take-out only, my sushi bar let regulars eat in and I did so weekly, all through the shutdown.

I wore masks when required and at no other time. Cloth only. My school made the KN95 masks available free, handing them out several times. They sat unused on my desk. “Why don’t you use them? They’re better than cloth,” my students would ask.

“Yeah, I don’t want to wear a mask at all and if I understand the experts wearing cloth is the next best thing.”

The first day my district ended the mask mandate, I was afraid I read the calendar wrong. Everyone was still masked. Maybe four teachers and 20 kids weren’t. Some teachers took a vote in their class to determine whether to require masks in their classroom and I nearly lost my shit upon hearing that from my class. At the sight of my fury, two different students took off their masks.

“Oh, don’t do that! I hate masks. You don’t have to! That’s my point. I don’t want people forced to wear masks but forcing you not to is just as wrong.”

“Naw,” said Jacob. “I was just doing it because everyone else did.”

“Me, too!” said Alison, “I hate masks.”

“Ah. OK. So let me be clear. I’m fine with anyone wearing masks, but if you are wearing masks because you’re afraid people will judge you, then man up, puppies.”

Last day of school, a majority of students were still masking, but increasingly kids took their masks off around me. Not sure what that means.

I have never taken a covid19 test. I have allergy attacks that are bad enough I may as well be sick, but I now take allergy meds most of the year to stop outbreaks and so the bronchial disasters are infrequent. While covid doesn’t worry me, I get sore throats so bad that strep is a possibility and that does concern me.  An allergy breakthrough last December gave me a sore throat bad enough to warrant a trip to urgent care for a strep test. They made me sit outside and wait an hour for a covid test before seeing a doctor. Fuck it, I’ll risk strep. It wasn’t strep. It wasn’t covid, either. I just needed to go back on Mucinex.

At school, we get these automated emails warning us if a kid in the school or the class had covid19. The first was just a notification. The second sent out a list of actions we needed to take if we weren’t boosted. I ignored those emails, as did almost every other teacher I talked to. Students stopped calling in sick with a sore throat or sniffles; parents didn’t want to activate the protocols. Girls had cramps, boys had sprained ankles.

I have several classes of 35 kids and they sit in groups. At no point did covid sweep through my classroom, although many cases occurred randomly. Elmore and Leonid were brothers who sat next to each other and lived together. Elmore got covid, Leonid didn’t–not then and, last I checked he, like me, hasn’t had it.

I am not boosted. I will not get boosted for the same reason I don’t get flu shots. Maybe when I’m older and worried about lung function–at some point, with my bronchial history, it might be a good idea.

The official definition of close contact exposure is six feet for 15 minutes. My friend Bart, who left teaching last year, came back for the graduation and slept on my couch. We ate at the sushi bar, had dinner at my house, talked as I cleaned up my classroom, and traveled in the same car during the 36 hours between his arrival and his taking me to the airport for my flight to Florida.

Four hours later, Bart texted me frantically. He’d felt tired and had a sore throat and took a covid19 test which came back positive. He was so sorry!

Who does that? Who feels mildly sick and says oh, take a covid test! Well, Bart does, obviously. He was pretty obsessive about covid throughout, staying housebound for months. Vaxxed and boosted. Still got covid.

Anyway, I was definitely exposed to covid19. Ate at restaurants, went to the beach, went to a movie. Had a great time. No covid.

I never thought my covid virginity was unusual. My brother, who manages an elite grocery store, also hasn’t gotten it–vaxxed, not boosted. His son and daughter who live with us haven’t gotten it. My sister did get a fairly mild case in January–never vaxxed. Her daughter, a nurse, utterly and wholly obsessed about covid prevention, required every attendee at her baby shower to be vaxxed, boosted, and show a negative PCR test.  She’s had it twice. My mom and her husband never had it. Most of the teachers at school never had it–some obsessive protectors, some more like me.

My explanation is my immune system.. Thank my mutt ancestry. Viruses don’t have much hold on me.  Not colds, not flus, not covid. I personally attribute it to the hyperimmune response of allergies, but my brother and sister have much milder allergies and similar health. It’s certainly not my behavior. From February 2020 on I have openly mocked the cautious. It gets you or it doesn’t. I’m okay if it does. But it hasn’t.

Besides, the article already observed that only 60% of the population has gotten covid. 40% doesn’t seem like it’s worthy of superdodger status. Let me know when I’m one of the 1%.

About educationrealist

18 responses to “Am I a COVID “Superdodger”? Novid for me.

  • Nikolai Vladivostok

    I think I’ve had it three times. Didn’t get tested because in the country where I was sick, I would have been forcibly quarantined in a government centre for a month and fed nothing but cup noodles.
    I agree that our natural immune system is probably the main thing. I always used to get every cold and flu going around and will again when they come back. Runs in the family; it’s called the ‘Vladivostok weakness’.

  • Jackson Jules

    Lucky you! It’s not the end of the world, but it is unpleasant.

    I think the real takeaway is that life is not a morality play. Some people took every precaution imaginable and got COVID. Other people mostly went about their regular lives and didn’t get COVID. Why? Who knows. *shrug*

  • jb

    I knew someone who got extremely sick right at the beginning of the pandemic, so while I didn’t panic I took reasonable precautions, and got vaxxed as soon as the jabs became available. After that though I stopped worrying about it; I figured that my immune system had gotten its heads up, and if that wasn’t sufficient well then too bad for me. And I haven’t gotten covid, despite giving myself every opportunity to get it.

    At least I think I haven’t gotten it. I did have a cold last December. I get them occasionally, and there was nothing unusual about this one, but because I had an upcoming medical appointment I made a point of getting tested, and both rapid and PCR tests came back negative. I’m not sure I believe it though, as I’ve read about people who test negative repeatedly before testing positive. And of course asymptotic infections do seem to be a thing, so that’s also a possibility. I understand that there are tests that will determine not just whether you have antibodies (which could be from vaccination), but whether you have actually ever had covid. If anybody is really interested in investigating the novid phenomenon such tests should be part of the investigation.

    Relatedly, for people who refuse to get vaccinated, couldn’t you just give those people an antibody test, and if they test positive give them a card that would be treated as the equivalent of a vaccination (or at least one vaccine shot)? People quarrel about which gives better protection, but everybody, including the CDC, seems to agree that natural immunity gives you at least a significant measure of protection, and giving people credit for that would solve a lot of problems. What, too easy? (Of course then the people in charge would be denied the joy of condemning other people for not doing as they were told…).

    • techanon

      > Relatedly, for people who refuse to get vaccinated, couldn’t you just give those people an antibody test, and if they test positive give them a card that would be treated as the equivalent of a vaccination (or at least one vaccine shot)?

      Since about April 2020 we have known that about 30% of all covid recoveries do not show any antibody signatures whatsoever on tests.

      I’ve had covid twice, confirmed by PCR. I have scanned negative on four antibody tests so far.

      As for why we can’t do that card process anyway, IDK but I’m convinced it’s some combination of complete idiocy and power tripping. Idiocy: I think most of our policymakers who have the ultimate authority actually sincerely do not understand the science of what you’re saying, and their thought process starts and ends at “vaccine = safe; no vaccine = no safe”. Power tripping: It is very easy to track, with nearly perfect accuracy, who is vaccinated; just give them a card when you stick them. There is zero ambiguity on if someone got a shot or not. But how do you track who had and recovered from covid? Tests have false positive and false negative rates. The antibody thing means that that’s not a reliable method. People lie.

      • jb

        Wow, I hadn’t heard about negative antibody tests for confirmed cases, that’s really interesting. Do you have any links?

        From your other comment I see that you aren’t vaccinated, and that your bouts seem to have been mild. Interesting data point. I’ve also been very interested with figuring out what is going on with covid; in particular whether, once everything settles down, it will turn out to be no worse the coronaviruses that have long circulated in the population (e.g., OC43, which nowadays is just a common cold, but may have caused a major pandemic when it first appeared in 1889), or whether it will turn out to be something new and worse. Also, I’m terrified that advancing genetic technology will make it possible some day for a apocalyptic terrorist group (or even just a depressed grad student) to manufacture something much, much worse!

  • annla

    Mostly agree. I pretty much stayed home during lock down. When back to teaching I HATED wearing a mask. I can’t talk for so much time with one on. It drove me crazy. So I took to removing the middle (and most important part) of my surgical type masks to teach.

    Vaxed and boosted. Nonetheless, I was sure that getting covid was inevitable once I was back with 3300 students, but it never happened. The day the mask mandate was set to expire, I just stopped wearing it before the official time. A 20-something teacher cried because stopping the mandate was so unfair and I was happy about it.

    • educationrealist

      I’m terrified I’ll go back and they’ll have decided to some democratic bullshit like “lets’ vote on whether to wear masks or not” because I’m going to have to stand up and say no, unless you have a government bigfoot no one’s forcing me into masks.

      After the first couple months of wearing masks, which I hated so much, I just started pulling them off at my desk and when I was talking up front. Horrible, horrible things. Most kids are used to them. I just watched a bunch of students give presentations where they were being videotaped, all the attendees 10 feet spaced, mostly in masks. Crazy.

  • techanon

    I have spent the last two years of my life going through everything covid I could find, making my own observations an and analyses of gov’t data, anecdata, etc.

    All I can say is: Since lockdowns started, I caught covid once and missed a total of two workdays. I am not vaccinated. Since lockdowns started, most of the rest of my team has caught covid 3 or 4 times already, taking 3ish days off each time. I believe this is strongly relevant

  • cthulhu

    I got sick with a “bad cold” in late February 2020, right after a business trip; might have been C19 – but probably not. Got vaxxed as soon it was available for my age group; got boosted twice. Late summer 2022, got a “bad cold”, went to the minor illness clinic because I was coughing really bad, saw a PA, she diagnosed bronchitis and saw no reason for me to take a Covid test because my symptoms “weren’t a good match for what they were seeing in C19 patients”.

    I take all of this to indicate I may have had C19 twice, but it wasn’t a big deal, and as of a few months ago, the medical community saw no benefit in someone with non-serious symptoms to take a diagnostic test of dubious value and get caught up in the C19 system. I also know my immune system is pretty solid – I haven’t had the flu in 30+ years despite doing nothing to reduce my risk most of the time (the last 5 years I have been getting the flu vaccine, but the quarter-century before that, nada).

    So, yeah, immune system FTW.

    • educationrealist

      Fascinating they didn’t test you. As I said above, who on earth runs to test to see if they have covid19? Lots of people, apparently.

      • DensityDuck

        There’s lot of people who are absolutely terrified of COVID. They just know that there’s this brain-melting lung-shredding nerve-devouring disease out there, that’s gonna get them if they’re bad and don’t follow the rules.

  • DensityDuck

    One of the things that everyone kind of stopped talking about was how in March 2020 when the Seattle hospitals started doing tests on fluid and tissue samples, they found an extremely high prevalence of COVID. Like, going back a couple months, they found Omicron-level positivity rates. And basically none of the people who provided these samples had reported COVID-like symptoms. Meaning that it’s entirely possible to have the ‘rona and not know it.

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