By Will Stone

The test results that hot day in early August shouldn’t have surprised me — all the symptoms were there. A few days earlier, fatigue had enveloped me like a weighted blanket. I chalked it up to my weekend of travel. Next, a headache clamped down on the back of my skull. Then my eyeballs started to ache. And soon enough, everything tasted like nothing.

As a reporter who’s covered the coronavirus since the first confirmed U.S. case landed in Seattle, where I live, I should have known what was coming, but there was some part of me that couldn’t quite believe it. I had a breakthrough case of COVID-19 — despite my two shots of the Pfizer vaccine, the second one in April.

I was just one more example of our country’s tug and pull between fantasies of a post-COVID-19 summer and the realities of our still-raging pandemic, where even the vaccinated can get sick.

Not only was I sick, but I’d brought the virus home and exposed my 67-year-old father and extended family during my first trip back to the East Coast since the start of the pandemic. It was just the scenario I had tried to avoid for a year and a half. And it definitely was not the summer vacation I had anticipated.

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