Parenting in Times of COVID-19, Part 1: She’s Positive

At the end of the first day, I’m exhausted. And I’m not the one sick… Yet.

René F. Najera, MPH, DrPH
6 min readMay 24, 2022


My daughter started having a runny nose last Friday. I chalked it up to allergies and took her to daycare. She had no other complaints, and my own allergies have been going strong. The car is covered in pollen every morning. She has also had no fever, though — being my daughter — she gets warm at any exposure to the sun.

Saturday, we went to her soccer practice, and she was perfectly normal then. She ran around without any issues, stopping once in a while for me to wipe her nose and drink more water. The temperature was in the 90s for the first time this year, and we could feel it.

A little girl plays with a soccer ball around some orange cones on the ground.

On Sunday, we drove three hours up to Pennsylvania for a K-9 trial competition. A young woman watched my daughter while a colleague and I took photographs of the pups. My daughter and her babysitter watched for a while, then they went to the playground just outside the community center where the event took place. I was free to take all the pictures I could, and I got some good pictures even with the crappy indoor lighting.

A police officer holds back a police dog while the officer gives verbal instructions to someone off frame. There are people observing in the background, sitting on bleachers.

When we got back home on Sunday, I napped for about an hour. I was tired from the long drive. She entertained herself in her room. After all, she had slept almost the whole way back, snoring up a storm as the snot in her nose made it hard to breathe. We had dinner and went to bed early. As I laid in bed, I heard her coughing a little and getting up to blow her nose. It was then that I decided to give her an at-home COVID test first thing in the morning, before taking her to daycare.

She woke up just as snotty as the previous day, and she felt warm to the touch when she crawled into my bed to wake me up. My wife has been at a conference since last Wednesday, and she won’t be back until next Wednesday. I got a thermometer out and, as I thought, my kiddo had a slight fever.

We walked down to the kitchen, and I took out the test. I swabbed her nose, per the instructions, and set up the test and a 20-minute timer. As I put…



René F. Najera, MPH, DrPH

DrPH in Epidemiology. Associate/JHBSPH. Adjunct/GMU. Epidemiologist. Father. Husband. (He/Him/His/El)