I’m thinking about COVID-19 testing today. As Delta continues its spread and Omicron advances, it’s become clear to me that COVID-19 will be with us for a long time to come. The word I keep hearing to describe this reality is, “endemic.” Pandemic is a word that describes a disease which has spread widely over the whole world. Endemic is a word that describes a disease which is regularly found in a population. From my research it seems that the general expectation from experts is that COVID-19 will be endemic, much like the flu is.
As I struggle to accept that reality, I’ve already accepted the reality that getting tested regularly for the foreseeable future is a simple, safe and concrete action I can take to keep my family, friends and neighbors safe while also functioning on a day-to-day basis. Since COVID-19 is going to be part of my life, testing will also need to be part of my life. Not only when I travel, not only on special occasions, but regularly and often. I’ve begun keeping a supply of rapid, at-home antigen tests (soon to be reimbursed by insurance). Every week I take 10 minutes to undergo a free and painless PCR test whenever I’m near Pine Street or over in Williston.
To be honest, I thought all this testing was going to be inconvenient and cumbersome. What I found, though, is that it has empowered me. Empowered me to fight back against COVID-19. Empowered me to reclaim some activities I had ceded to the virus. Empowered me to manage the virus better so I can manage my life better.
None of us want to hear that COVID-19 will be with us for a long time but I fully expect it will be. As I weep and gnash my teeth about that, I’m also getting tested often. I encourage you to consider doing the same so that we can all keep one another safer while also getting on with life.
Rev. Kevin Goldenbogen
Senior Pastor of Charlotte Congregational Church (UCC)
and member of Charlotte Community Partners