Flying in the Face of Covid

Concourse A at Baltimore-Washington International Airport was, thank goodness, nearly empty this evening.

I just returned from picking up my husband at BWI airport this evening. Traffic was terrible, and a trip that should have been less than one hour (one way) took nearly three hours. The same thing happened last Friday when I brought him to the same airport to catch his flight out, when it took about the same amount of time. But my annoyance has nothing to do with sitting in traffic. I’m just ticked off at him for taking the trip in the first place. Mostly, I guess I’m worried about him.

He wanted to visit his brother in Grand Rapids. I get it. I haven’t seen most of my family since last year, either. But we are in the middle of a deadly pandemic. Travel is supposed to be limited to essential trips only. Visiting his brother so they can feed the birds together, lift weights together, and listen to music together is not essential. Neither is the meal they ate INSIDE a restaurant. At home, we’ve only done takeout and outdoor dining since March. Why did he suddenly think it was safe to eat in a restaurant — in a part of the country with a much higher infection rate than we have here? I suspect his brother wanted to, and he’s used to agreeing to whatever his brother wants. Maybe that’s the reason he went in the first place. His brother and sister-in-law both have medical conditions that make them high risk. But they wanted him to come, and he took them at their word.

Even worse, he flew there. I begged him to drive. It’s a ten-hour trip by car. But that’s certainly not impossible. He’s done it many times when there was no virus to worry about. And driving in our own car for ten hours is a lot less risky than spending two or three hours first in an airport and then another two or three in a plane. And then at least a half-hour in second airport. But he didn’t want to spend time driving that he could have spent with his brother. The only concession I got out of him was that he agreed to find direct flights, so that he would not have to risk exposure to the virus on each of his travel days both in a second airport and on a second plane with a different group of passengers.

He may think I’m being unreasonable, but I told him he needs to quarantine at home for the time being. He’ll be sleeping in our son’s bedroom (our son is away at college) and spending all of his time either there or in the basement. And I want him to get tested in a few days, which he has to do anyway before his boss will let him go back to work in person.

My husband is not a Covid denier. He wears a mask, he washes his hands, and he usually avoids gatherings of people. He refuses to spread unscientific misinformation, and he calls it out when he sees it. He’s as disgusted as I am with the White House’s handling of this virus. There are a lot of coronavidiots out there. My husband is not one of them. So why did he have such a blind spot, as far as this trip is concerned? I know we are all so weary of this pandemic — of living with the fear of the illness, of being separated from family and friends, and of dealing with the restrictions that are necessary for protecting public health. But the virus is now spreading uncontrolled. More than 190,000 new cases were reported in the U.S. yesterday alone! This is no time to relax our vigilance.

The stained-glass crab in Concourse A knows not to hang out in an airport during a pandemic without protecting itself with plexiglass shielding.

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