Coronavirus Briefing: A Pandemic of the Forgotten – The New York Times

We asked readers who are immunocompromised, along with their family members, to share their pandemic experience and their outlook for the year ahead. Their responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

I feel like Im required to be my own epidemiologist. Theres not enough known about Covid and people on B-cell inhibitors. Im trying to give myself the grace to be imperfect in figuring this out, and to give other people space to do their own risk calculations. But its not always easy. You dont want to always be arguing for your right to not be killed by other peoples decisions. I assume Ill wear a mask for the rest of my life. It actually feels empowering to admit to being immunocompromised although it also feels like its taken two years for people to be able to have some understanding of what that means. Adria Quiones, New York, N.Y.

I have been on immunosuppressants for nine years as a result of a bone-marrow transplant. I feel left behind by friends who are moving on with their lives, free to socialize in their vaccinated bubbles, and who fear being near me since they do not want to risk infecting me. I fear I will lose my identity and individuality and continue to shrink into anonymity. Risk-free options do not exist for me, and I do not see them coming anytime soon. Shari Kurita, Oakland, Calif.

I have serious lung disease and until vaccination was locked away in my house like Rapunzel. The pandemic cost me my relationship, social life and livelihood. Since being vaxxed, Ive been able to get out and about, see friends and family, even attend a few concerts. I flew to New York over Thanksgiving without ill effects. Ive figured out ways to teach private music lessons safely. Now, with Omicron spreading so fast, Im back in lockdown. Ill be wearing a mask in public spaces for the rest of my life. I doubt Ill have the same parade of private students through my living room again. T.P., Los Angeles

How do you describe the feeling of suddenly being trapped? It feels worse when I realize theres nothing holding you back except the selfishness of others. I could go to the movie theater when cases are low, but if just one jerk comes in and refuses to wear their mask, I could potentially end up in the hospital. I could go on dates and be careful, but if my date is careless, I could bring it home to my also-immunocompromised mom. It was a relief for me when things got worse and Governor Newsom reimposed the mask mandate because at least Im safer when Im out at a store. Daniella Gruber, Orange County, Calif.

Having cancer in a pandemic has, at least for now, turned me into a wary misanthrope. Neighbors I used to greet cheerily on the elevator, or acquaintances I see on rare trips to the grocery, are sometimes unmasked even indoors when signs are posted. They really dont care if I die is a recurrent thought, and I fear Ill never return fully to my openhearted self. Ann Bancroft, Coronado, Calif.

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Coronavirus Briefing: A Pandemic of the Forgotten - The New York Times

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