Column: How I’ve stayed COVID-free — warning, good luck and a wise spouse

Contaminated individuals have coughed on me, maskless.

I didn’t get COVID.

I’ve attended events that grew to become super-spreader occasions — didn’t get COVID.

I by no means sheltered in place and incessantly punctured my pandemic bubble throughout the worst waves — didn’t get the virus.

One time, the spittle of a sneezing, sniffling man someway went via his masks and landed on my brow. The next day, he referred to as to let me know what I already guessed: He had la corona.

I didn’t.

So far as I do know, I’ve but to turn into one of many tens of hundreds of thousands of Individuals contaminated with COVID-19 over the past 2½ years. I’ve gone via the pandemic’s begin, its lethal winter 2020 surge, the Delta variant and this summer time’s Omicron free-for-all with out ever dropping my sense of style or scent, feeling fatigued, affected by gastrointestinal points, or any of the opposite signs which have hit my buddies, household and colleagues.

I’m the final one in my closest social circles who can say this, though we’re all vaxxed and double-boosted. And if I ever acquired the illness however was asymptomatic, nobody has ever accused me of transmitting the illness to them.

So so far as I’m involved, I’m COVID-free. Um, yay? Um, how?

There aren’t any correct numbers for a way many individuals have contracted the illness. The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention at present lists the entire variety of reported instances in the USA at over 92 million, however most specialists agree that’s an undercount. A Might report by the CDC estimated that just about 60% of Individuals have contracted the illness. A June survey co-conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Nationwide Middle for Well being Statistics discovered that greater than 40% of American adults reported beforehand having COVID-19.

In the meantime, the Institute of Well being Metrics and Analysis, based mostly on the College of Washington, estimates that greater than 80% of Individuals have contracted COVID-19 a minimum of as soon as.

Regardless of the numbers, scientists are more and more interested in how and why COVID hits some individuals laborious however appears to skip others. So I referred to as up Los Angeles County Division of Public Well being Director Barbara Ferrer, who has spearheaded the county’s pandemic response and has been vilified for her caution-first strategy. I assumed I used to be particular, somebody worthy of a case research.

“I’m not really that surprised,” Ferrer instructed me over the telephone. “There’s still a couple of million people in L.A. County who haven’t contracted it yet. There are people who have even been asymptomatic, and that could’ve been you.”

Effectively, a lot for my principle that I’ve at all times had good well being as a result of the American authorities secretly injected me with a serum to make me an Avenger.

However as I recounted my pandemic previous to Ferrer, she congratulated me on a sport plan that has to date evaded the illness: a mixture of warning, good genes, luck — and particularly my spouse, Delilah.

Ferrer began off by saying she had loved my earlier columns about convincing my father to cease being a pandejo, and the way Delilah and her staff proceed to masks at her Santa Ana market, providing masks freed from cost to clients.

“I can tell you what you’ve done — you’ve been wearing a mask, and a good one,” she mentioned. “We’ve been in such a fight about the mask, but most of the people who have told me they haven’t received COVID tell me they’ve been wearing a mask.

“You’ve had the good fortune that you haven’t been in a place, or went to a gathering where there was someone who was very infectious,” Ferrer continued. “And you’ve been cautious from the start.”

Eh …

Within the early months, I’d don masks whereas on assignments however ditch them in my private life. I discovered them foolish and felt self-conscious carrying one — highlighted my large brow, you realize? What transformed me was my spouse telling me I’d be banned from her retailer if I didn’t clever up. She additionally made me evolve my look — from bandanna to a material masks to a surgical one to the N95 selection that I now put on as comfortably as a windbreaker — as new research emerged on the efficacy of every.

Blissful spouse, pleased life, no sick strife … or one thing.

Delilah Snell, spouse of the writer, stands on the entrance door of her retailer, Alta Baja Market in Santa Ana

(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Occasions)

After I instructed Ferrer that my spouse has additionally by no means contracted COVID, she sounded much more impressed.

“Between the two of you, you were being cautious at the right places at the right time, and it really reduces your exposure,” she mentioned.

“But,” Ferrer added, “you’ve probably had some good luck.”

Extra like loads.

I by no means stopped visiting my father and siblings, though I’ve at all times made positive there’s some kind of air flow. This summer time, I went to a banquet in a sweltering room the place I used to be considered one of a handful of individuals carrying a masks — and even I finally took mine off. Simply final week, I went to lunch with a buddy who’s been much more cautious than me — and he texted two days later to let me know I ought to take a look at myself (I got here out destructive; he didn’t).

My spouse and I now principally reside our pre-pandemic lives however nonetheless train warning. We exit to eat at our favourite spots, however largely in patio settings. Now we have buddies over, however solely with our entrance door or home windows open. We haven’t been good — and but we stay COVID-free.

“I do almost everything I want to do at this point,” Ferrer mentioned, “but I have my mask on the entire time. I’ll go to concerts indoors, and I might be one of five people wearing a mask, but I do feel it makes a difference.”

May the truth that individuals like me haven’t gotten COVID make others assume that they don’t should take any precautions in any respect?

“I don’t know many people who haven’t taken precautions and haven’t gotten COVID,” Ferrer responded. “There is something about the good fortune about you not getting exposure, and you might have some good genes. Maybe something about your immune system is making it hard for the virus to take hold.”

I’m positive my good luck will run out quickly — I’m about to hop on a flight, for starters — however speaking to Ferrer bolstered my conviction that warning is one of the best ways to stave off la corona. Positively not hubris: once I boasted that I’ve drunk orange juice my total life, and that certainly should enhance my physique to combat off illness, I might virtually hear my spouse roll her eyes close by.

“No, it’s what I’ve always said!” she yelled over the tv. “Wear a mask! This pandemic would’ve been over long ago if people just wore their masks!”

Ferrer laughed.

“Your wife has been right from the very beginning,” she mentioned. “Listen to her more. She has the wisdom of women taking care of each other.”

Blissful spouse, higher life.