And my advice is different now when friends and family tell me they want to avoid having a breakthrough case like mine: Don’t leave it all up to the vaccine. Wear masks, stay away from big gatherings with unvaccinated people, cut down on travel, at least until things calm down.
The U.S. is averaging more than 130,000 coronavirus infections a day (about twice what it was when I fell sick), hospitals are being crushed and the White House has proposed booster shots. Scientists are still making sense of what’s happening with breakthrough cases.
What’s clear is that in many parts of the U.S., we’re all more likely to run into the virus than we were in the spring. “Your risk is going to be different if you are in a place that’s very highly vaccinated, with very low level of community spread,” says Dr. Preeti Malani, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Michigan. “The piece that’s important is what’s happening in your community.”
Even with delta, the goal is not to go back to a lockdown mindset, though, says Malani. “My hope is that people who are fully vaccinated should really feel like this risk is manageable.”
“Feel good about spending time with your friends, or having a small dinner party, but make sure everyone is vaccinated,” she says.