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The NY Stock Exchange Plunges as Gotham's Covid Rate Surges!

Updated: Jul 18



On Sunday night, the news broke that New York Senator Charles Schumer, the fully vaccinated and boosted Senate Majority Leader, has Covid. Well, why not Chuck? It feels like every third person here has the virus now. New York’s sixth Covid wave has driven the city’s positivity rate up to 15 percent, the highest since January. According to Tuesday’s New York Times, “the city is logging about 3,700 cases per day, though experts estimate the true number of infections is as much as 10 times higher with most people testing at home.” This week’s cover story brings you text interviews by Insider editor Andrea Sachs with three New Yorkers who have fallen victim to the variant du jour. (One of them is a member of the Insider family—our talented web consultant Matt Nadelson.) We suspect that this story will make you grab for your mask!


 

Oh, No! My Whole Family Has Covid Now—a Second Time!


Interview with Matt Nadelson


Matt Nadelson gives a thumbs down to his positive Covid home test. He and his whole family presently have Covid.
Matt Nadelson gives a thumbs down to his positive Covid home test. He and his whole family presently have Covid.

FRIDAY


The Insider:

Hi Matt. Thanks for talking by text with us!

Matt Nadelson:

Most definitely.

The Insider:

Just a few bio questions before we get started. Where do you live?

Matt Nadelson:

I live in Kew Gardens, in Queens, N.Y.

The Insider:

How old are you?

Matt Nadelson:

I’m 39

The Insider:

And what kind of work do you do?

Matt Nadelson:

I am the founder and president of an IT support and managed IT services company called Computer Camaraderie Corp.

The Insider:

Yesterday, NYC reported its highest Covid positivity rate since January. It sounds like you’ve gotten caught up in that, alas!

Matt Nadelson:

Yes indeed, though I believe I actually caught it while I was out of town for the July 4th weekend.

The Insider:

Where did you go?

Matt Nadelson:

I went to my family’s bungalow in the Catskills (Monticello N.Y.). My mother was already up there for a day when I arrived last Saturday with my wife Lev and our 11-month-old son, Daniel. My mom mentioned that she had a headache and had taken some pain medication. We didn’t think much of it at the time.


Our weekend plans proceeded pretty much as expected. We went out to eat that night at a local Greek restaurant that we normally frequent. And later that night, my wife and I and a friend from the bungalow colony went to the casino. On Sunday, we spent time at the pool and still felt completely fine, though my mom was clearly experiencing some cold-like symptoms at that point.

The Insider:

Did you start to think your mom might have Covid?

Matt Nadelson:

The thought definitely crossed our minds. We did think it might be a good idea to test her just in case, but we didn’t have any at-home Covid tests with us. And we figured the probability of it being an issue for us was low anyway, because we’re all triple vaxxed (except my son) and because I already had Covid just a little over a month ago. My wife and son presumably had it then too, so we all felt like we had sky-high immunity.

We actually didn’t notice anything really until Monday the Fourth. Our son Daniel was super cranky all day and was fighting his naps with more fervor than usual. He also felt unusually warm, but we thought it was just because it was a hot day. At that point, my wife and I had some very slight nasal symptoms but nothing that you couldn’t mistake for allergies.

The Insider:

And then…

Matt Nadelson:

My symptoms started to escalate throughout the day. On our drive home, I had a bad headache. Later that night, when we got back to Queens, we got a call from our friend from the bungalow colony. She said she had some bad news. At first, I thought something happened to her on her ride home. But instead, it was to tell us she had tested positive for Covid. I immediately called my mom and asked her to take a test. Then my wife and I took a test at home as well. My mom and I were both positive. My wife tested negative, but her symptoms had also escalated so we presumed that she also had it. We didn’t want to test Daniel because he’s so young, but we took his temperature and he had a fever of nearly 102°.

The Insider:

That’s awful! Did you feel at that point like Covid was supposed to be one and done? Were you very surprised?

Matt Nadelson:

I was not surprised that my mom and friend had it because they never had it before. But I was definitely shocked that my family had gotten it, presumably for the second time. The other crazy part is that the first time I had Covid, the symptoms were actually milder. So I definitely didn’t expect to have it again so quickly–and have a worst case of it to boot. The so-called “super immunity” from being triple-vaccinated and infected in the past felt completely useless now.

The Insider:

But you might have ended up in the hospital without them, right?

Matt Nadelson:

Absolutely. I don’t even want to think about what would’ve happened if I didn’t have whatever immunity the vaccine and the prior infection brought me. We just found out that a couple we know who have a one-month-old baby just tested positive, and none of them are fully vaccinated. So I am very concerned about how this will play out for them.

The Insider:

It’s four days into your illness now. How are you all feeling?

Matt Nadelson:

The good news is we’re all improving. Nobody has a fever anymore. My son is still coughing but mainly back to his usual rambunctious self after acting kind of lethargic for a few days. My wife and I are also still quite congested (she to the point that she can’t smell anything). But overall, we’re moving in the right direction. The bad news is that my wife and I took another Covid test today and both of us still tested positive. During my last bout with Covid, I only tested positive once during the entire duration of my symptoms. And even then, the line on my home test was very faint and barely visible. My Covid tests now are all still showing really thick lines. Not sure if there is any significance to that, but it certainly feels like I have a worse case this time around.

Bad news!
Bad news!

The Insider:

Has any of you seen a doctor?

Matt Nadelson:

We have not. Our son actually had a pediatrician appointment on Wednesday to get his one-year-old vaccinations, ironically. But we had to cancel it since you can’t do that while you’re infected with Covid.

The Insider:

Do you feel as though a doctor couldn’t help any of you?

Matt Nadelson:

We considered getting Paxlovid, but from what I read it has no statistical benefit for people who are vaccinated, have no preexisting conditions, and are in my age range. And once our fevers went down, we figured we were trending in the right direction and that there probably wasn’t much else to do other than wait.

The Insider:

Have you been taking over-the-counter medicines?

Matt Nadelson:

Yes, we’ve been taking Tylenol and some decongestants as well. They’ve been working wonders. I think the Tylenol really kept Daniel’s fever in check, too. And then of course there’s chicken soup and my wife’s family’s Soviet tea cocktail that works wonders on just about any infection I put it up against!

The Insider:

Do you plan to have Daniel vaccinated for Covid when he’s better?

Matt Nadelson:

A few weeks ago, I would’ve told you no because we already had Covid and Daniel already had some immunity because my wife got vaccinated during her pregnancy. But after this experience, I think we will strongly consider it as long as the vaccine is updated for the latest strains. It definitely seems like the current crop of vaccines or having had a prior infection doesn’t do much against this latest version of Covid. And that is very concerning.

The Insider:

What variant do you assume this is?

Matt Nadelson:

My assumption is that this is the omicron variant BA.5. That is the one that we have been reading about lately, the one that is becoming quite dominant and the one that they say has more immune “escape” capability than any version of Covid before it.

The Insider:

Meaning it can get around vaccines too?

Matt Nadelson:

Yes, they say that the vaccines are much less effective against it, to the point that many people who are vaccinated and have previously been infected (like us) are getting reinfected with this variant very quickly after having had Covid already.

The Insider:

Last question: knowing everything you know now, will your pandemic lifestyle change because of this experience?

Matt Nadelson:

Yes. I definitely think I will go back to being more cautious again–especially in indoor settings. I was exceptionally careful for 2-plus years, and the result was that I didn’t get Covid. As soon as I let my guard down fully, I got it not once, but twice, in the span of a month and a half. It’s a stark reminder that we are not out of this pandemic yet but also that social distancing and mask wearing work! I think many people develop a false sense of security when they are vaccinated, especially if they were also previously infected. But my experience says we still have to remain vigilant.

The Insider:

Best of luck and health to your family! Thanks so much for doing this.

Matt Nadelson:

Thanks!


 

SATURDAY

The Insider:

Hi Matt—Just checking in. How is your family doing?

Matt Nadelson:

Overall, I thought we were getting better. My wife and I are not as congested as we were before, though we still have slight sinus headaches. But we noticed a new troubling symptom in the last day or so–our sense of smell is almost completely gone and all of the food we eat tastes bland. Since we’re not that congested now, this is also not like the usual loss of smell and taste you would get with a cold. We actually didn’t realize our son Daniel pooped on two different occasions because we both can’t smell anything. He was also rather cranky today, so we don’t know if he is also having some sort of new symptom that is making him uncomfortable.

The Insider:

I am so sorry! How is your mother doing?

Matt Nadelson:

She is actually doing the best of any of us. It’s ironic since she is the oldest. She told us she has no symptoms and can smell and taste everything normally. However, she still tested positive as recently as last night.

The Insider:

You mentioned that you have friends with a baby who are partially vaccinated who have Covid. May I ask you about them?

Matt Nadelson:

Sure

The Insider:

Are they also in New York City?

Matt Nadelson:

Yes, they live in Brooklyn

The Insider:

And how old are the parents? How old is the baby?

Matt Nadelson:

The mother is 34 and the father is 38. The baby is a little over three months old

The Insider:

Correct that they’ve never been vaccinated or boosted?

Matt Nadelson:

The mother definitely wasn’t. The father was twice vaxxed but not boosted.

The Insider:

Do you know the reason why they didn’t get vaccinated? Is it political?

Matt Nadelson:

In their case, it was not political. They generally aren’t very political people compared to other friends of mine. I’m not 100% sure about the father, but I know the mother was afraid to get it because she thought the side effects might be worse than the disease itself. She also was pregnant around the time the vaccines were becoming widely available and I think she feared how the vaccine might affect her baby

The Insider:

Did they find out they had Covid at the same time as you and your family did?

Matt Nadelson:

Actually they found out just a day after us. They started getting symptoms after visiting a friend. I’ve been checking in with them periodically to make sure things are OK. They are really not doing well.

They all have fevers, including the baby. And the father was not able to hold down food or liquids so he had to go to the hospital to get an IV. He’s back at home now but last I heard, he was still unable to eat or drink anything.

The Insider:

Are they taking medicine?

Matt Nadelson:

Not that I know of. I did encourage them to take Paxlovid because of their vaccination status, but they told me that they were worried about side effects, so I assume they haven’t.

The Insider:

Yikes! It’s impossible not to be frustrated by their point of view. Side effects? Aren’t they worried about Covid killing them or their baby? Sorry to be intemperate!

Matt Nadelson:

Unfortunately, I think like many people, they are underestimating the risk that this disease poses and overestimating the risk of side effects from the vaccine. I’ve seen this with many people I know, especially younger people. I think they figure they are young and healthy so they don’t need a boost

The Insider:

What do they say about the fact that your family, which is vaxxed and boosted, is doing better than theirs?

Matt Nadelson:

That’s something my wife and I have actually talked about a lot but we haven’t brought it up. The last thing we want to do is tell them that now, while they are already suffering so much from this virus. We’re really hoping and praying that they recover quickly, and so far, we are doing our best to resist the temptation to say “I told you so”

The Insider:

I’m curious about their educational backgrounds. College graduates?

Matt Nadelson:

Yes, they both have master’s degrees. The mother in financial management and the father is in information systems

The Insider:

So what is your own family planning on now? Any doctor’s visits or medicine?

Matt Nadelson:

For now, we’re just continuing to rest and pound the Tylenol. Our biggest concern is that the loss of smell and taste could be long-term, which has happened to others. So we may reach out to a doctor to ask about that if it doesn’t improve in the next day or two.

The Insider:

That sounds like a good idea. Thanks so much for the update, Matt! We’ll check in again soon. Feel better!

Matt Nadelson:

Thank you!


 

SUNDAY


The Insider:

Hi Matt! How are you folks doing today? Any better?

Matt Nadelson:

Not too good. I was up most of the night last night feeling nauseous but unable to vomit. My wife still can’t taste or smell. And my son isn’t eating as much as usual and has random fussy periods where it seems like something is bothering him. The one silver lining is that my sense of taste and smell is a little better today.

The Insider:

This is much worse than the first time you got it a month ago. Why, do you suppose?

Matt Nadelson:

It definitely is. I suspect this is a different strain. I also think I probably got exposed to a higher viral load because I was around my mom for an entire weekend while she was already symptomatic. The first time it wasn’t clear exactly where I got it, which makes me think I was exposed to Covid for a much shorter period or to someone who wasn’t very symptomatic.

The Insider:

On Friday, New York City officials suggested that people in the city wear masks inside. What did you think? On the Upper West Side, where I live, it’s like Mardi Gras. The restaurants are packed inside. Broadway’s mask rule is being eliminated. I just don’t get it.


Matt Nadelson:

I did read that. I think it’s definitely good advice, though it probably wouldn’t have helped in my case because I caught it from a family member during a holiday weekend. I imagine that is probably how many other people also caught it during this latest surge. But I think we‘ve all let our guard down a bit when it comes to indoor events and dining, and that is probably costing us now.

The Insider:

How are your partially vaccinated friends with Covid doing now?

Matt Nadelson:

I’m not sure how the father is doing but the mother told me that she is also experiencing some stomach upset today. It seems like there are a lot of digestion related symptoms with this strain. This variant is definitely worse!



 



“I Am Sure That If We Did Not Take Paxlovid, We Both Would Have Been Sicker, for Longer”


Interview with Jackie


Jackie dining at an Indian restaurant while on vacation in Washington, D.C. in June. She and her husband Lou both came down with Covid while they were on the road.
Jackie dining at an Indian restaurant while on vacation in Washington, D.C. in June. She and her husband Lou both came down with Covid while they were on the road.

The Insider:

Hi Jackie! Thanks for agreeing to do an interview with us.

Jackie:

Hi!

The Insider:

Where do you live?

Jackie:

Huntington Station, New York.

The Insider:

And what kind of work do you do?

Jackie:

I’m a retired teacher.

The Insider:

What kind of teacher?

Jackie:

A Spanish teacher at a suburban middle school.

The Insider:

It’s all over the news in New York that there’s a Covid surge going on now. It sounds like you unfortunately got caught up in that.

Jackie:

I was in D.C. on vacation in early June when we got it. My husband got it too.

The Insider:

Was it the first time that you’d traveled during the pandemic?

Jackie:

Yes. We went to a lot of museums and were pretty close to people. We did wear our masks. Someone sneezed and I felt a droplet on my cheek, despite my mask

The Insider:

And you suspected at that moment that you’d been exposed to Covid?

Jackie:

I thought about it

The Insider:

How many days were you in D.C.?

Jackie:

Five, and on the fourth day there, my husband began coughing a lot. We went to an urgent care and were both tested. Lou came back positive, mine was negative until I got back home and self-tested. I was then positive

The Insider:

What symptoms did you both have?

Jackie:

Chills, coughing, sneezing. I felt like someone had me by the throat. I took my necklace off because I was so bothered. My husband is immunocompromised. I am sure if we did not take Paxlovid, we both would have been sicker, for longer.

The Insider:

Did you go to a doctor in D.C. immediately?

Jackie:

Yes. I knew it was important to get treated fast, especially for Lou.

The Insider:

Were you both fully vaxxed and boosted?

Jackie:

Yes. But it had been a few months since our last booster.

The Insider:

Were you surprised how sick you felt, or that you had gotten Covid at all?

Jackie:

No, I wasn’t surprised. It seems that most people will get it

The Insider:

What did your urgent care doctor in D.C. tell you?

Jackie:

For some reason, urgent care did not give us a rapid test, so Lou did not get his D.C. results until the next day.

The Insider:

So did your New York doctor prescribe Paxlovid after you requested it?

Jackie:

Yes, I called Lou’s oncologist, who prescribed it.

The Insider:

Tell us about taking Paxlovid. Were you initially nervous about it?

Jackie:

No, I am a big believer in science. I was grateful for the antivirals. They were not around when I was younger. They are wonderful.

The Insider:

Is Paxlovid pills or a shot or what?

Jackie:

Pills. Five days worth.

The Insider:

Did you have to pay for them, or does insurance pay? Are they expensive?

Jackie:

Free. I have insurance, but the government might pay for all Covid-related medicine. I am not sure

The Insider:

Any side effects?

Jackie:

No side effects that I noticed. We recovered quickly after going on meds. Within a few days

The Insider:

And have you totally recovered now? Any lingering symptoms?

Jackie:

Yes, fully recovered

The Insider:

That’s great! One more question. Will your experience change you and your husband’s pandemic behavior now?

Jackie:

We were always careful. We will be more cognizant of the time between boosters. Happy and grateful for science!

The Insider:

I can understand why! Continued good health to both of you. Thanks so much for talking with The Insider!

Jackie:

Thanks! Take care.


 


“’I Would Rather Work Remotely Full-Time, But They Won’t Allow It”


Interview with Rachel (a pseudonym)


The Insider:

Hi Rachel. Thanks for talking with us. Have you gotten caught up in the current upsurge of Covid in NYC?

Rachel:

Yes, I tested positive for Covid two days ago

The Insider:

I’m sorry! Is this the first time you’ve had it?

Rachel:

The first time I’ve officially had it. At the start of the pandemic, I got really sick but wasn’t able to get tested at the time.

The Insider:

Where do you live?

Rachel:

Manhattan

The Insider:

What kind of work do you do?

Rachel:

I work in finance

The Insider:

How did you find out you had Covid?

Rachel:

I took an at-home test which was positive and then went to a CityMD

The Insider:

What kind of symptoms are you having?

Rachel:

Mostly sore throat and cough, plus minor cold symptoms like runny nose and sneezing

The Insider:

Were you surprised to get Covid, or did you know you’d been exposed to it?

Rachel:

I wasn’t completely surprised because people in my office were testing positive, but I didn’t know anyone personally who I was exposed to

The Insider:

Have you been vaxxed and boosted?

Rachel:

Yes, vaxxed and boosted

The Insider:

Not fair, right? When you went to CityMD, did you just get tested or did you see a doctor, too?

Rachel:

I got tested and then they sent a doctor in. She explained the results and that I had to isolate

The Insider:

Did she say anything about medicine?

Rachel:

No, she didn’t

The Insider:

Did you ask?

Rachel:

I didn’t ask either

The Insider:

Because you assumed there was nothing to take?

Rachel:

For my symptoms?

The Insider:

No, something like Paxlovid, intended for Covid.

Rachel:

I don’t know too much about that or whether I qualify to take it

The Insider:

Did you have to contact any other people to tell them you had tested positive?

Rachel:

Just my husband and work

The Insider:

Does your husband have it now too?

Rachel:

He doesn’t have it, thankfully

The Insider:

Yes, it seems to be random. Are you trying to isolate at home, or is that impossible?

Rachel:

Yes, I’m trying to isolate at home. It is hard, though

The Insider:

Do you need to self-test at home?

Rachel:

The doctor told me not to rely on self tests and just make sure to isolate, then to quarantine. I will self-test before going back to work or being around people

The Insider:

So are you taking over-the-counter meds? Is anything helping?

Rachel:

No, I’m not taking anything except I have cough drops and drinking vitamin C

The Insider:

Were you working in person in your office?

Rachel:

Yes, we are going into the office a few days a week

The Insider:

After being remote for awhile?

Rachel:

They’ve actually wanted us back in for a while now. We’ve been going in for over a year, since September 2020.

The Insider:

I wonder how you feel about that.

Rachel:

I would rather work remotely full-time

The Insider:

Has there been some pushback in your office against going in in-person?

Rachel:

Yes, but they won’t allow it

The Insider:

Has anyone quit because of that?

Rachel:

Yes. A handful of people that I know of

The Insider:

How many people in the office have gotten Covid now?

Rachel:

I have no idea. I’m not sure how often they inform us.

The Insider:

Are you aware of some?

Rachel:

Yes, I’m aware that there have been positive cases

The Insider:

To be honest, that sounds like a real misjudgment by management.

Rachel:

Misjudgment by having people back in the office?

The Insider:

Yes, by compelling it. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe that’s standard now. How do you feel?

Rachel:

I don’t agree that they force us into the office. We need to come in four to five times a week. When someone tests positive in our office, they send out a generic email.

The Insider:

Telling you what?

Rachel:

That someone in our office tested positive and those within close contact have been notified

The Insider:

Meaning that you should get tested?

Rachel:

I’m not sure if they mean to get tested. I think they are just obligated to tell us

The Insider:

I’m interested in what you’re hearing about other offices. Is that standard now?

Rachel:

I think it’s standard in finance offices, but I’ve heard other industries are more flexible

The Insider:

Just curious—do people wear masks in your office?

Rachel:

We are not required to wear masks, but I do see a few people wear them in the halls. Not many

The Insider:

Last question: Do you think that having had Covid will change your pandemic behavior, at work or in your personal life?

Rachel:

No, I don’t think so because I’ve always been careful and cautious during the pandemic

The Insider:

I’m very grateful for your time, Rachel! I hope you feel better soon!

Rachel:

Thank you!


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