• andreasachs1

"Having Covid Three Times Has Galvanized Me!"




The Insider:

Hi Bradford! Thanks for talking by text with The Insider.

We are interested in hearing about your pandemic experience. Let’s start with a few bio questions. Where do you live?

 

Bradford Shreve:

I am a new transplant to the Lower East Side but for the past 12 years, I lived and worked in Hell’s Kitchen and the Upper West Side.

 

The Insider:

So you’re a Manhattanite?

 

Bradford Shreve:

Yes, after so many years I feel I can say that I am a Manhattanite.

 

The Insider:

Where are you from originally?

 

Bradford Shreve:

I grew up in Northern California and went to the University of California, Santa Cruz.

 

The Insider:

What kind of work do you do?

 

Bradford Shreve:

I am a personal trainer with 13 years of experience in New York City

 

The Insider:

Before the pandemic started, where were you seeing your clients? At a gym?

 

Bradford Shreve:

Yes. I trained clients at a corporate gym while also training clients privately in my building’s gym

 

The Insider:

And did that change when the pandemic started?

 

Bradford Shreve:

Yes. For me the first month or so of the pandemic I was sick with Covid, so I didn’t train at all for about four weeks.

 

The Insider:

Wow! You caught it early. Was that in March 2020?

 

Bradford Shreve:

Yes, my first symptoms (a sore throat) appeared on March 12. I remember that the day before, Tom Hanks made the news as the first celebrity to catch the coronavirus

 

The Insider:

That was really a confusing time, I think. No one really understood what Covid was or how you caught it. How did you find out that you had it?

 

Bradford Shreve:

It was a very confusing and uncertain time. I concluded that I had Covid-19 after a few days of not having any sense of smell and taste. I googled “loss of smell and taste,” and that’s when I realized that my symptoms were consistent with Covid. At that time no tests were available, so I could not scientifically prove that I had it until eight weeks later, when I found a medical office testing for antibodies.

 

The Insider:

Were you very sick?

 

Bradford Shreve:

I never required hospitalization, but the experience of Covid without any reliable information made the experience very traumatic psychologically. One night I had an anxiety attack because I thought my body was failing, but it was all in my head.

 

The Insider:

Yes, that would be very frightening! Were you able to see a doctor at all during that illness?

 

Bradford Shreve:

I did talk to a doctor over FaceTime and I called a psychiatrist friend of mine for advice

 

The Insider:

Were you otherwise in good health, or did you have an underlying condition?

 

Bradford Shreve:

I think because I was in good health, my body was able to fight it off and recover. But it took four weeks before I felt I was out of the woods.

 

The Insider:

How long was it before you could go back to work? What were you told about quarantining?

 

Bradford Shreve:

Once my energy returned, I started training virtually and by May I started meeting clients outside with masks to train. I remember it felt kind of risky to be outside, but I felt confident that with precautions we could train safely.

 

The Insider:

By any chance, did you go to Central Park? I heard about people doing that.

 

Bradford Shreve:

Yes, I got a bike trailer and lugged weights and equipment to Central Park. Another outdoor gym that popped up was at DeWitt Clinton Park. It was a beautiful thing to see so many people taking charge of their fitness outside and being creative within the confines of the situation

 

The Insider:

That’s great! How long did you do that for?

 

Bradford Shreve:

Outdoor sessions continued all summer even into winter 2021. It was actually very fulfilling to train outside in the elements and for a while at least we didn’t miss being indoors

 

The Insider:

What had you been told medically about your immunity at that point? Did you doctor tell you that you were still vulnerable to getting Covid again, or did you feel you were immune?

 

Bradford Shreve:

I felt very confident that my immunity would hold up, at least until the emergence of the delta variant. Again, the data just wasn’t there yet so all of my info was through first-person accounts and searching the Internet. One of my favorite sources was Dr John Campbell on YouTube. I felt he was a reasonable source that would scour the medical publications and share it on his YouTube channel.

 

The Insider:

And then what happened?

 

Bradford Shreve:

By 2021, I think the CDC and WHO finally caught up with their studies. Teatments were improving, so the fear and threat perception started to wane. Also more and more studies supported the notion that natural immunity was a good protection

 

The Insider:

So did you move your training sessions back to inside?

 

Bradford Shreve:

When gyms reopened, I would train a few clients inside at a small mom & pop gym, masked, and usually just us—gym traffic was very light.  I also continued to train many sessions outside

 

The Insider:

Did you get sick again anyways?

 

Bradford Shreve:

The only time I had to stop working was this past June when I tested positive with a home test. My symptoms were very mild—pretty much just a sore throat for three days.

 

It’s worth appreciating that we now have home tests. Thinking back to March/April 2020 ANY test would have been extremely helpful.

 

I got vaccinated in May 2021 with J & J. I followed up with a Moderna booster right before the Omicron wave in December2021/Jan202. Not sure if it was because of my fresh booster, but I managed to avoid Covid in that wave despite multiple exposures

 

The Insider:

I should ask you how old you are.

 

Bradford Shreve:

I’m 45

 

The Insider:

So you had one initial J & J shot in May 2021 and a Moderna booster later that year?

 

Bradford Shreve:

Correct. I waited awhile for each shot. I think I wanted to spread the shots out over more time to make it last longer.

 

The Insider:

When they started indicating that the J & J vaccine was not as effective, were you concerned? Is that why you got Moderna next time?

 

Bradford Shreve:

Yes, I had read that mix & match was even better than sticking to one brand so I decided Moderna was the best performer (at least thru Delta—Omicron hadn’t happened yet)

       

The Insider:

So you had Covid in March 2020 and in May 2022. Did you have it a third time as well?

 

Bradford Shreve:

I was sick for a week in July 2021, but I never tested. At the time because it was so mild, I didn’t even consider Covid, but looking back, it was a real possibility. I think because my first experience was so traumatic, I didn’t even want to revisit those memories so I kind of brushed it off. Also, I don’t think tests were widely available yet, so it was easier to avoid

 

The Insider:

So you assume that you’ve had Covid three times?

 

Bradford Shreve:

Unscientifically, yes

 

The Insider:

Since you’re such a health-oriented person, I would imagine that that would be very distressing.

 

Bradford Shreve:

Yes. But the Covid experience actually galvanized me as a fitness trainer. I saw how important my health was for me to fight off the virus without any help from the medical institutions. Suddenly I saw my profession not as a luxury service, but as a life-saving practice. Now I see my training others to live healthier lives as an essential service.

 

The Insider:

That makes good sense!

During your three Covid experiences, did you ever take any kind of Covid medicine?

 

Bradford Shreve:

This latest round I received Paxlovid from the New York City Health Department. It was delivered to my apartment at no cost. Such a different experience from two and a half years ago!

 

The Insider:

Yes! Did it help?

 

Bradford Shreve:

I didn’t really notice any dramatic change. My symptoms were already getting better when I started taking the pills. The worst part was having to stay home for seven days while I continued testing positive . For my work, it was an unexpected 7 days of “unpaid leave”

 

The Insider:

Having gone through this three times, are you afraid of the boom dropping again?

 

Bradford Shreve:

I see the trend that Covid is developing into another mild illness that is less and less fatal. From the virus’ perspective, it wants its host to live and spread more illness. So the early version that I had was too aggressive to sustain. It seems that its evolution is to be less severe and more contagious.

 

That being said, I think it’s too soon to completely let my guard down. So I continue to be as healthy as possible and take precautions when possible. I may not fear for my life, but I don’t want to lose another week of work…

 

The Insider:

Last question: What’s your pandemic lifestyle like now? Are you always masked? Do you go inside restaurants? Have you been to the movies or to Broadway?

 

Bradford Shreve:

I consistently wear my mask in subways, and I have seen a bunch of Broadway shows masked. I do some things indoors without masks like restaurants. I think I will always use a mask in high-traffic areas but I also feel confident about being indoors without a mask in smaller groups.

 

For me it’s always a risk/reward ratio and as the days and weeks move on, I am willing to take on a little more risk as our knowledge and treatments improve.

 

The Insider:

Thanks so much for talking with us! I have to ask you—were you an English major? You’re a great writer!

 

Bradford Shreve:

Haha! I have a graduate degree in acting so I have been exposed to a lot of great writers

 

The Insider:

It shows!

 

Bradford Shreve:

Thanks. This was a great conversation.

 

The Insider:

I really enjoyed talking with you, too!

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