While Katie and I were out grocery shopping earlier today, we received an email from our landlord. They didn’t expressly say that someone in our building tested positive for covid, but it was comfortably nestled between the lines. It stated that anyone that had been to a particular bar on a particular day, or had been in contact with anyone that had, shouldn’t leave their apartment. Symptoms or no symptoms, if you’ve been exposed, quarantine. They’re sending a mobile testing van around on Saturday.
For those just tuning in, we live in a university town. Our building is filled with university students. This city has one of the fastest growing rates of infection in the country, and not surprisingly the largest demographic for new cases is people aged 20 to 29. The trash can outside our building is filled with masks, because people can’t be bothered to wear them all the way into their apartment. There are masks on the ground near bus stops, because you need to wear one to ride public transportation and they peel them off as soon as they can. I see maskless students walking in packs every day through my windows.
The Bar Has Been Named, Shamed, and Shut Down
Through test and trace they’ve identified 26 people who were at the bar that day that have tested positive. They’ve tested around half of the estimated 150 people who were there at the same time as the positive cases. Almost all of these cases are foreign exchange students. This does not bode well for the increasing hostility toward foreigners I’ve experienced since the pandemic began.
Katie and I put on our masks before we leave the apartment. I don’t touch anything in the hallway, including the handrails on the stairs. I open push doors with my elbow or shoulder, and pull door open with one gloved finger. Coming home, we don’t take off our masks until the apartment door is closed. We immediate sanitize everything and wash our hands.
Being Antisocial is My Superpower
The only time I leave the apartment to go grocery shopping and use the laundry room. I stay 2 meters away from anyone properly wearing a mask, 5 meters from anyone not wearing a mask, and as far as possible from the morons who are technically wearing a mask but leave their nose sticking out.
I book the laundry room for the crack of dawn, when it first opens. No one else wants to do laundry that early. It’s a programmed electronic lock, so no one’s there. No one will have been in the room for at least 9 hours, and since the best science currently says the virus can’t live on most surfaces beyond 6 hours, I feel pretty safe. I’m done before the next booked time slot begins, so I don’t run into anyone. I still wear gloves, and don’t touch anything I don’t need to.
Someone in Our Building Tested Positive for Covid
This whole thing infuriates me for two reasons. First, as I said before, there has been some rising anti-foreigner sentiment. We never encountered much of that prior to the pandemic. There’s a reason, too: there’s a correlation between Finland’s outbreaks and foreigners. The biggest last year was in Helsinki, the center of international business and tourism. Another large one was in Lapland, where there’s a ski resort popular with foreign tourists. There’s also a land border with Sweden up there, and when that country’s outbreak was at its worst people were trying to flee into Finland. A final big outbreak happened on a busy border crossing with Russia.
The other reason this infuriates me, though, is that it’s been almost a year. We know how this spreads. Everyone has seen how bad things got in other parts of Europe, and how out of control the virus is in the United States. Not taking precautions is just lazy and irresponsible. I have enough health problems that if I catch covid it probably won’t go well. I resent that in spite of my own precautions, I could still get sick because some kid had to fight for their right to party.