We spent a few sleepless nights fighting to bring her 103-degree fever down as our little warrior coughed and struggled with congestion. Her doctor told us to only take her to the hospital if she had trouble breathing. The biggest "weapon" I had to help my kid was over-the-counter medicine to reduce her fever.
Thankfully, my little girl has now recovered, and overall Covid-19 was "swift and mild" on us as a family. But the experience was still traumatic -- even for a now-experienced "pandemic mom" like me. After all, as the working parent of two daughters, I've been at this for a while now.
After more than 18 months of masking, isolating, quarantining, podding, testing, vaccinating and boosting, I thought I had all the tools to stand up to Covid -- or at least to prepare for it. But nothing readied me for the moment when my husband handed over our daughter's positive home rapid test.
In a matter of seconds, our biggest fear came true. My husband, my older child and I are all vaccinated, but it was our youngest who got Covid-19. As soon as we managed to get her fever and symptoms under control, my 10-year-old tested positive, followed by my husband. They are healthy and suffer from no additional Covid-related vulnerabilities, so I wasn't nearly as worried about them as I was about my youngest because as I knew the vaccine would protect them from hospitalization or worse.
Although everyone made it out OK, especially our little Layla, I can't stop thinking about how, as a country, the US just can't seem to effectively prioritize the well-being of children. How could we so excitedly tout having a vaccine when it doesn't include the very youngest kids? As kids across the country return to school without clear and accessible testing measures
in place, how can anyone be claiming to put children's safety or protection first?
At this point in the pandemic, we need to be better prepared to take on this virus. The health of our children -- not of our businesses
-- should be put first. For starters, that means we need a larger availability of tests and clear, consistent rules
for isolating if exposed or infected. Without those measures, we cannot curb the spread of infection, which puts our young, unvaccinated children at the greatest risk.
Even in the midst of the nightmare of my toddler testing positive, I was so grateful we had at-home tests. But the only reason we had them was because my husband had thought ahead about our need for testing kits and masks during the holiday season. We were saved by pure luck while many people have struggled to find tests
. That is unacceptable.