Breakthrough COVID Was Mild, and Worse Than I Thought

Alexis Madrigal writes that the 'life disruption' very real even if you don't get very sick
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2021 11:30 AM CST
I Went to a Wedding Vaccinated, Brought COVID Home With Me
"I walked in and saw that people were all inside, fairly densely packed in a big room. No one was wearing a mask."   (AP Illustration/Peter Hamlin)

Alexis Madrigal is a co-founder of the COVID Tracking Project, so as you can imagine, he took COVID pretty darn seriously. Which made his friend's October wedding in New Orleans a major dilemma. His best friend (a doctor) was getting married, Madrigal was a vaccinated 39-year-old endurance athlete, the attendees would all be vaccinated, the invite said local public-health protocols would be in place, and, like many of us, "I was over it. I was done," he writes for the Atlantic. So he went. "I walked in and saw that people were all inside, fairly densely packed in a big room. No one was wearing a mask. ... For some reason, I was shocked." He thought about hightailing it out of there. Instead he ordered a drink, "pushed breakthrough infections out of mind, made some new friends, and had a great time."

You know where this is going. Yep, four days after returning home to his wife and kids, Madrigal tested positive for COVID (as did at least a dozen other wedding guests). He had told himself that if he did get sick it wouldn't be serious, and that part was true. "I felt pretty sick, like when you have a cold, but I’ve probably been sicker 15 times as an adult," he writes. But there was real fallout that he hadn't anticipated, mainly involving his kids, who had to quarantine with his wife. "They knew, cognitively, that I was vaccinated and unlikely to get really sick. That said, COVID-19, for them, is a terrible thing. ... My 8-year-old could barely look at me—maybe out of anger, maybe out of fear." At this point, it's the "life disruption" that's the worst part, and "things aren’t likely to change that much for quite some time." (Read the full piece.)

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