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VIRUS DIARY: Thwarted at the finish line, but finding luck | National News








VIRUS DIARY: Thwarted at the finish line, but finding luck

The shadows of Associated Press editor Pia Sarkar and her family are cast on the sand at Island Beach State Park in Berkeley Township, N.J., in November 2020. Since the start of the pandemic, Sarkar tried to play it safe, staying close to home, avoiding large gatherings, and limiting activities to the outdoors. Yet she and her kids still managed to get COVID.




HADDONFIELD, N.J. (AP) — There it was, the finish line, beckoning me to cross it.

There I was, running at top speed, eager to be over it.

I’d been on my best behavior since March 2020, when the pandemic reached the United States. Twenty months of not setting foot inside a restaurant or getting on a plane or seeing my 88-year-old father-in-law on the other side of the country. Twenty months of eyeing people who wore their masks dangling off one ear (or not at all), or packing together for birthday parties, baby showers and weddings. I’d lost co-workers to COVID-19. Earlier this year, I lost a beloved aunt.

We spent last Thanksgiving at home, just the four of us. Same for Christmas. My husband and I juggled our full-time jobs while trying to get our two sons through remote learning, me editing stories while cursing under my breath as I coached my 10-year-old through long division.

When I became eligible for the vaccine, I desperately searched for an appointment and drove an hour to Atlantic City to get the jab. Now there was hope.

I started to allow myself small indulgences, telling myself I had earned them. Over the summer, we got together with family (all of us vaxxed except for the kids). We drove to Rhode Island (limiting ourselves to outdoor activities). I went to a wedding (just the ceremony, not the reception).



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