Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says 'COVID was no joke' as she reflects on her time in quarantine

·4 min read
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is speaking out about her bout with COVID-19. (Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images)
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is speaking out about her bout with COVID-19. (Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is reflecting on her bout with COVID-19, which she says has made her "slow down" in order to recover. On Jan. 9 the Democrat's team announced that she had tested positive for the coronavirus and was experiencing symptoms following a trip to Miami over the holidays.

On Saturday, Ocasio-Cortez returned to Instagram to share the news that she's on the mend and urge followers to take precautions to avoid illness and reduce spread. Her post included a series of photos documenting her time in quarantine, from a positive test alongside a negative one to a shot of her snuggled under a blanket with Deco, the French bulldog she shares with longtime boyfriend Riley Roberts.

"Welp, so it happened," the congresswoman wrote. "Got COVID, probably Omicron. As of today I am thankfully recovered and wrapping up quarantine, but COVID was no joke. For a while I’ve noted the term 'mild' is misleading when the bar is hospitalization and death. Even 'mild' cases can result in long COVID, which includes a range of conditions like cognitive impairment, POTS and chronic fatigue. This isn’t to be a downer or induce fear, just a reminder that we need to be careful (N95s in crowded indoor spaces like stores) and if you do get it, it’s key to care for yourself and REST."

Ocasio-Cortez went on to criticize the CDC's recently updated guidance that halves the recommended isolation time from 10 to five days for people with COVID-19, which has prompted many employers to revise their sick leave and quarantine policies.

"The idea of forcing people to work just five days after symptoms start is sociopathic and 100 percent informed by a culture that accepts sacrificing human lives for profit margins as a fair trade," she continued. "The good news is that we have an antidote: community.

"If you’ve noticed, much of the emphasis of media conversations on COVID are individualistic: wear a mask, get vaccinated to protect *yourself,* go back to work even [with] symptoms [because] *you’re* “fine” (even if you’re not)," she wrote. "And while some of these recommendations are good — like getting a vaccine [and] wearing masks where appropriate, the motivations for them shouldn’t just be selfish. It should also be [because] we actually give a damn about other people — our disabled neighbors, our coworkers who haven’t said (and shouldn’t feel obligated to say) they’re immunocompromised, etc."

She also addressed the 'bizarre" idea that prioritizing the greater good can be seen as a "polarizing political stance." She likened the individualistic response to the pandemic to inaction on climate change and health care.

"It’s truly bizarre to me that giving a s*** about other people is a polarizing political stance, but my dad used to say that life makes you repeat lessons until you learn them. And if there’s one lesson I think we as a country are repeating until we learn, it’s that community and collective good is our best shot through our greatest challenges — way more than discorded acts of 'rugged individualism' and the bootstrap propaganda we’ve been spoon-fed since birth.

"Individualism is inadequate for planetary forces like climate change or global pandemics, no less societal ones like health care, economic inequity and racism. But WE, as a collective, can confront them. In a world of MEs, let’s build team WE. Anyways that’s enough for today, stay healthy and blessed and let’s keep building."

She signed off with "Love & solidarity, AOC."

According to her Instagram Stories, AOC also used her quarantine to learn some new recipes.

"Getting COVID has made me slow down to recover, so my main activity today was making this chili oil tofu," she told followers, sharing a photo of the vegan dish.

"Last year was so busy I hardly ever had time to cook, and if I did it was always really quick staples I've done a million times before," she added. "So cooking something new felt really indulgent and joyful today."

Ocasio-Cortez shared a recipe she'd tried while in isolation. (Photo: AOC/Instagram Stories)
Ocasio-Cortez shared a recipe she'd tried while in isolation. (Photo: AOC/Instagram Stories)

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