I Caught COVID. You Should Get Vaccinated By Dennis Richmond, Jr.

My name is Dennis Richmond, Jr., and I’m a 26-year-old New Yorker. Since March of 2020, I’ve been doing good. I made sure to wear my mask indoors and outdoors, I was socially distant, and I received both shots of the Pfizer COVID vaccine.

I ran around New York City earlier this month, hitting everywhere from the Burnside Avenue section of the Bronx to the East New York Section of Brooklyn and from the Howard Beach section of Queens to Midtown Manhattan. I did most of this running around maskless. On Saturday, September 18th, 2021, I tested positive for COVID-19.

The first thing that I had to do was let everybody I was around, know that they were exposed to COVID. Why were they exposed? Because of me. Even though I didn’t expose people on purpose, reaching out to people was an experience. One person asked me, “Is this a joke?” It wasn’t. Somebody else had told me “Thank you for telling me.” That was a nice response, considering I just furthered the pandemic because I didn’t want to wear a mask.

After hearing some interesting responses, things got crazy. One person who I was around told me that if they tested positive for it, they wouldn’t tell anybody. Wait. If you catch the Rona, you’re not telling anybody around you? Somebody else dared to tell me after I told them my diagnosis, “that explains why I haven’t felt good all week.” Are, you, serious? For real? Don’t tell me that. I wasn’t glad to know that I had to let my relatives, who are seniors, know that they were exposed to COVID too. I had seen an uncle of mine who’s 81. I had to let him and my aunt know.

I felt the urge to post my diagnoses on social media. I did, and I got a myriad of reactions and comments as a result. The amount of love that people showed me from social media and elsewhere was beautiful. This person lives in Queens, this one lives in Virginia, this one lives in Harlem, and this one lives in Pennsylvania. It was something. Things got crazy yet again when I started to have conversations with people around my age about getting vaccinated. Young adults are so quick to smoke something and get high but hesitant to take a vaccine. It doesn’t make sense. You don’t know what’s in that loud, gelato, sour, or kush, but you’ll smoke it. God, forbid you have to take a vaccine so you won’t spread a deadly virus.

Since COVID-19, I lost weight, I slept a ridiculous amount of time, and I had to quarantine in my room, in my house. If I had to say anything at all, it would be to please, just get vaccinated.

For real. Get vaccinated.