It’s difficult to get tested in the U.S. for COVID-19. We are far behind on rapid testing or even regular testing. At first, many people could only get tested if they have documented direct contact from someone with it from a foreign country—or if they were a celebrity. At this point, there are too many cases for that to be the standard, but there is still a severe shortage. This makes it difficult to not only know who has it, but it also makes it hard to know when they’re done having it.

New York Times correspondent Dana Goldstein shared a long Twitter thread about her experience with the virus, since she had a confirmed case. Goldstein says she was able to get diagnosed at a City MD after her primary care physician showed her the door, saying the office didn’t have proper protective gear to treat a potential coronavirus case. Pregnant people are given priority for testing in some cases.

At first, Goldstein thought she just had a cold, but the virus ended up landing her bed for two weeks. She says she came into contact with many people before she was diagnosed, showing again how easy, rapid testing could contain outbreaks,

Goldstein has a husband and daughter who didn’t qualify for a test—they were just “presumed positive.” While Goldstein says her case would be considered mild, it was still incredibly unpleasant and difficult to recover from. It’s additionally frightening due to her pregnancy, because it’s unknown how the virus could potentially affect a fetus.

Goldstein wanted to explain how the lack of official government support for sick citizens makes it very difficult to contain illness within families. They had no masks or gloves (like many hospitals) and it was very hard for her husband to disinfect and watch their child at the same time. There’s now no way to test themselves again to see that they are negative, making the time they should be spending in isolation unclear. Leaving people to make those decisions without any medical confirmation will spread the virus even further.

The thread is helpful for people trying to identify their own symptoms or figure out what to do if they feel they might be sick with COVID-19. And it’s a perfect snapshot of why the U.S. is struggling so hard to contain the virus. We’re on our own.

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*First Published: April 5, 2020, 9:50 am