Q: I’ve just learned I have COVID. Should I—

A: Wait. Are you over seventy, and/or are you functioning without an immune system, and/or did you actually listen when we told you to get a booster?

Q: Uh, no, no, and yes.

A: Ah, you’re one of the boring COVID cases then. Go ahead. Ask your questions.

Q: Basically, is there anything I need to do now that I know I have COVID?

A: You should stay home. Unless you don’t have symptoms. If you don’t, you can go out. Or you can stay home then too. Either or.

Q: Should I mask?

A: Yes?

Q: You don’t sound super sure about that.

A: If you want to mask, mask.

Q: Are you guys masking?

A: No. Well, except Linda in phlebotomy.

Q: Have any of you had COVID?

A: Yes. Dozens of times. Linda missed three consecutive months of work in 2020. It was bonkers.

Q: Okay, so I guess I’ll mask. Do I need to stay home from work?

A: Can you work from home?

Q: No, I’m a teacher.

A: Oh, thank you. Our future is literally in your hands.

Q: Yeah. So should I stay home?

A: Honestly, the rest of us needs you to watch our kids so we can work from home—so, no. Oh my god, I just remembered there was a time when we thought kids couldn’t get COVID. Those were the good old days.

Q: Right? Remember when they said we might reach herd immunity?

A: And when we clapped for health care workers at 7 p.m.? And Brian Stokes Mitchell sang for us? And we all watched that Tiger King show? And—

Q: Remember when millions of people died?

A: Yes. That’s not a fun memory, though.

Q: No, it isn’t.

A: Try black-holing it. Forget that it happened. That’s what we did with the 1918 pandemic.

Q: There was another pandemic?

A: Exactly. Well done.

Q: Anyway, should I take Paxlovid?

A: You can, but it does make your mouth taste funny. Kind of a bummer.

Q: Okay, but it seems like it might be the best way to prevent long COVID?

A: Ack, we forgot about long COVID. Black-holed that as well. Sure, take Paxlovid.

Q: Is there anything else I should know about having COVID in 2023?

A: You should test for it. A lot.

Q: Great, are there free tests?

A: Yes, you can register online for them.

Q: Did the government fix all the problems with ordering the free tests from the first three times they offered them?

A: Nope.

Q: Are the tests completely accurate now, at least?

A: Also nope.

Q: I just found a bunch of expired tests. I should throw them out, right?

A: Maybe? Or no? One of those two, for sure.

Q: Is there anything you can tell me definitively about having COVID in 2023?

A: It’s better than having COVID in 2020. Ask Linda.

Q: Okay?

A: Sure. Was there anything else you wanted to ask about, like other pandemics coming down the pike and whether we are or are not better prepared for them now?

Q: Wait, other pandemics are coming down the pike?

A: Are there? Black-holed that one too.