I came down with coronavirus-like symptoms a week ago and am waiting for my COVID-19 test results. I am now in self-isolation indefinitely. I live in a three-unit house, in my own apartment with my own entrance. We all share a backyard that I would like to use to get some sunlight and fresh air, as I get through my self-isolation. I get the impression that my housemates would prefer if I hid away and did not emerge until I’m completely recovered. I figure that they have the rest of the city to enjoy the outdoors. How do we navigate this as a group of virtual strangers? Also, my housemates are prying and would like daily updates on my health. Usually I would view this as my privileged, personal medical information, but there is a highly infectious pandemic going on.
First, good on you for self-isolating. No one knows how long this crazy situation will last. But we do know that the more we all pull together, the sooner it’s over. As my mother-in-law, who is imbued with a great measure of wisdom and has seen a few things, says: “This too shall pass.”
In the meantime: You need to get outside. Get some fresh air. Ideally a little exercise. It’s not only important for mental health, it’s imperative that you get some vitamin D.
I certainly think your neighbours should understand your need to get out of your unit.
At the same time, I understand their point of view, too. If I discovered someone in my vicinity had coronovirus-type symptoms, I’d be extremely nervous indeed. People can talk about “flattening the curve” and “opening things up” all they want, but this thing is extremely contagious. It hurts and kills people.
So, I think your neighbours are well within their rights to ask (from a safe physical distance, of course), about your health, progress and test results. I would answer their questions politely and be compassionate and understanding of their legitimate concerns.
As you yourself say, there is a pandemic under way, and what normally might seem to be rude and intrusive questions are not any more.
I’m afraid I ultimately sympathize more with their position than yours. But maybe you can work out some sort of compromise, e.g. a schedule of different times for using the backyard.
And, I certainly hope you wear a mask whenever you go out anywhere – especially should you have need to go beyond your property,
Although I don’t have the virus (although who knows, I could be asymptomatic), I always wear my mask when I’m going outside as a courtesy to fellow citizens. It might be my imagination, but they seem a little friendlier and, even perhaps, a little less standoffish.
You, however, are under a moral obligation to wear a mask. Apologies if that comes across as too harsh, and I pray that you don’t have it.
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