They Came In


“We’re not going to touch your things if that’s what you’re worried about,” she said. She followed that statement by saying, “We ARE coming in”.

She said that because I wasn’t convinced. I’d tried to explain how high my risk level was and that I’d not left my home since March 3rd. I’m a nurse and paramedic on disability. I’ve seen this coming, kept up with it since it was declared a world health concern in February. I have no reasonable expectation of survival if I catch the disease.

But no one was going to tell this woman anything. She was going to have what she wanted. “We’ve taken precautions,” she said while wearing street shoes with no shoe covers, the same gloves as she and the five or six others with her had worn as they strolled from the previous unit to mine. They fingered the hardware store masks they wore, took them on and off, wrote on their clipboards, and used their phones. Not one of them visibly possessed, much less used hand sanitizer or cleaning wipes for any of the items they were using.

We know people can be infected and shed virus for a time before showing symptoms. We know wearing masks and gloves do nothing to prevent spread without proper handwashing. Further, improper use of gloves can promote the spread of organisms from one place to another. At least with bare hands, they would have been trying to disinfect in-between.

However, all of our appropriate precautions are based on the assumption that people will maintain a distance except in emergencies.

We know how to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. Invasion of my home without warning and with only the pretense of precautions is not prevention. There is no reason to put someone’s life unnecessarily at risk. Nothing was on fire, no first response was needed.

I look for ways to solve problems. I’m trained not to decompensate. Sometimes people mistake that for detachment but today… I came as close to becoming hysterical as I think I ever have. I’m not going to be safe from this virus until there is a vaccine, which is at least a year away at this point.

I live in a state where landlords and their agents can eject tenants for whatever reason they wish. Refusing a demand to enter my apartment means choosing between potential exposure to a deadly virus or loss of my home and so in either case, possible exposure.

They came in.

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