As I write this column, I’m feeling fine, working from my home office, with my puppy, Jello, watching my every move.
I’m working from home because I tested positive for COVID-19 last week. Thankfully, I’m asymptomatic, most likely because I’ve been fully vaccinated.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for my husband. He tested positive a couple of days before me, but he was feeling the symptoms of the virus — fever, body aches, loss of smell and taste and a few others. He’s better now, and thankfully he has been able to recover at home.
When a representative from the New Mexico Department of Health called, they told me only 1 percent of those who have been vaccinated have tested positive, and of those who did, it’s rare that they feel symptoms.
I have a breakthrough case of COVID-19 — despite my two shots of the Pfizer vaccine, the second one in April. I guess I’m just one more example of our country’s reality of an ongoing pandemic, in which even the vaccinated can still test positive.
I don’t know how we contracted it, and we don’t know who gave it to whom. All we know is that we’re in this together.
It’s hard to describe what all this feels like. As a journalist, I’ve been able to go to work, day in and day out, reporting about the virus for a year and a half now.
I, like many of you, I thought I was taking all the necessary precautions — wearing my mask, washing my hands, keeping a 6-foot social distance. Even though the restrictions lightened up this summer, my husband and I haven’t really done a whole lot. We don’t go out to dinner, the only shopping we do is at the grocery store.
We haven’t gone to the movies and we haven’t really visited with family and friends too much. The only really big event we went to was to the Lobo-Aggie football game a couple of weeks ago. We figure that’s the only place where we could have contracted COVID-19.
We’re lucky in the fact that we have been blessed with wonderful families, who check in on us daily. My mother-in-law, Corine, has brought us some delicious meals, and my sisters, Emily and Angela, have also brought some comfort — flowers, ice cream, oranges and even a big dill pickle for me. Even Julia — you all know her — has brought me a couple of essentials to keep me sane.
Even though I thought I was being safe, apparently I wasn’t safe enough. And for that, I’m sorry to my staff for not being able to be there in person, for making you worry and for possibly bringing it into the office. Fortunately, only Julia and Cameron may have been exposed (Bobbi and Makayla were out of state during that time). Thankfully, they both tested negative and are OK.
I tell my myself I’m one of the lucky ones who didn’t get sick. I’ve known many who have become ill, who have been hospitalized and who have sadly lost their battles with COVID-19.
The realty is breakthrough cases are becoming more common. The vaccines aren’t a force field that wards off all things COVID. They do, however, give you a lower chance of getting seriously ill or dying.
It was easy for me to think that after so many months of trying not to get COVID and getting the vaccine that it was more or less the finish line.
But now, I know it’s just one step in the process.
It’s hard to adjust your risk calculations. So, if you think you are being safe, if you are doing what you are supposed to be doing, maybe think about doing a little better.
Remember, COVID-19 is still here, and if I can get it, so can you.
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.