Dear Journal: How are we supposed to navigate this pandemic?

  • Sat Oct 17th, 2020 1:30am
  • News
Karen Harris Tully

Karen Harris Tully

Editor’s note: Karen Harris Tully is a writer who lives in Raymond and has agreed to keep a journal to share with Daily World readers during the odd and uncertain time we’re all navigating.

Dear Journal:

I feel like every time I write these days, it’s about the coronavirus. Like everything we do in trying to have some semblance of a normal life has this covid cloud hanging overhead.

We stay home a lot. We don’t go to gatherings or events. We wear masks in public, and I feel like we are relatively careful. Mike and I hadn’t been out to dinner since March, that is until last Saturday. It was a good friend’s 50th birthday, and we went out to dinner with him and five friends, seven of us total. We had pizza and beer (delicious cider for me) at a brewery in Astoria. The restaurant did really well with all the protocols as far as I could tell. The tables were well-spaced out, the ceilings were high, ventilation seemed good, the staff all wore masks. It felt comfortable enough for me to take off my mask and eat, and I’m the paranoid one, I admit. We had a really nice dinner with friends for the first time in a long time.

And then, a few days later, we get a call. One of the people at our table’s son had been to a college-age party, where they didn’t wear masks, of course, and a close friend at the party tested positive. So, this was like three steps removed from us, but the timing was right for us to be concerned. Our friend could have been positive without symptoms at the time we were close to him, unmasked for a couple hours. Out of an abundance of caution (that’s the saying these days, right?) we stayed home.

Drive-through testing here is at Willapa Harbor Hospital, Monday-Thursday from noon to 2 p.m. We had to get tested Thursday, or wait through the weekend without knowing. So, we loaded up the kids and I wore a mask in the car because I’d been sneezing that morning and had half convinced myself I had it.

When Mike and our son had to get tested a month ago for what turned out to be a seasonal cold, there was hardly a line, but on Thursday, we got there at noon and were already twelve cars back. It took about 45 minutes to get through, and more cars just kept coming behind us. Apparently, covid testing was the place to be. The test itself was quick. The swab stung, I won’t lie, but that’s all. We got the call that same afternoon: negative. Whew. The friends we ate dinner with were all negative, too.

This was our third covid scare since all this started, all of them minor, thank goodness, and I have to wonder. Are other people going through this, too?

Song of the day: Should I Stay or Should I Go, The Clash.

Karen Harris Tully is a novelist living in Raymond with her husband and two small children. She writes sci-fi/fantasy for teens and adults and can be found at