This article was published on March 19th, 2020
For those of us who thought Covid-19 was going to blow over quickly, it is time to face the music; this pandemic is going to get worse before it gets better. In the United States, the White House and the healthcare system are not prepared or capable enough to handle something of this magnitude. Ebola was scary, but it was contained. New coronavirus (COVID-19) cases are popping up everywhere and every day in comparison. It won’t impact thousands, it will impact millions of people around the globe, including vulnerable people in the queer community .
Since we cannot rely on the healthcare system to help us, it is important to take precautions to contain and stop the spread of this virus ourselves. This is especially true for the LGBTQ community. We have our own gatherings and community concerns that can make us vulnerable if we are not careful. There are many queer people who have compromised immune systems due to HIV, Hepatitis C, and other immunodeficiencies that can lower the efficiency of the immune system.
The best way to combat this disease right now is to self-quarantine. It is undoubtedly a challenge because the LGBTQ community is a close-knit group. We like to socially congregate, and enjoy ourselves. But it is now time to isolate ourselves and be patient. We don’t know who has Covid-19 because of the incubation period and the speed of the spread. It is guaranteed we will see more cases cropping up over the coming days, weeks, and months. As testing increases, we will have a much better idea of who has the disease, who is most vulnerable, and the pace of the spread.
In the interim, we should all do our best to make sure our friends and loved ones are taken care of during this quarantine period and don’t go stir crazy. Call and check on each other remotely using FaceTime, Skype, Teams, text messages, or whatever your preferred method is. Make sure they have their prescriptions and are eating healthy foods – the kind that helps to boost the immune system. If anybody you know has been to an event, conference,, gay bar, or circuit party, if they are showing any symptoms, encourage them to call to inquire if they should get tested. This is especially important for anyone who has been in one of the outbreak countries and returning from abroad.
Most people are going to find it rather simple to give up going out and to self-isolate for weeks, or possibly months. The real challenge is going to be to deal with the isolation.The impulse to log onto geo-location hook-up apps and find a corona buddy to ride out this pandemic with will likely happen. But this is not the kind of activity any of us should be doing. We need to keep our distance from people, be cautious, and limit exposure to one another.
Hookups and in-person dating are absolutely out of the question right now. If you do end up using an online dating app, try taking advantage of the situation and getting to know the person on a deeper level to make that first post-coronavirus date truly interesting. Try working your way through Arthur Aron’s 36 questions to foster intimacy. Who knows, after Covid-19 dies down, there could be a fabulous season of gay weddings in the works. Or worst case, couples filing for divorce.