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DEAR HARRIETTE: I am so mad right now. I have been super-careful every day since the coronavirus pandemic started. For more than a year, I didn’t go outside except to go to the grocery store and the doctor. Only in the past few months have I relaxed at all. I still wear a mask even as I have started back at the gym. I take my mask off only when eating or drinking, and I still keep my distance even then. And what do I get for it? COVID-19.
I am so angry and so scared. I have preexisting conditions, which is why I was so cautious. I feel so sick and worried. My doctor says there’s not much I can do but ride it out. I am fully vaccinated and boosted, but so what? I feel like a failure and like maybe I have put loved ones at risk. I’ve told the few people that I have been around. What else can I do? — Positive
DEAR POSITIVE: COVID-19 has been spiking all over the country and around the world. The omicron variant is said to be drastically more contagious than other variants of this illness. Give yourself a break. It sounds like you have been extremely cautious. I am so sorry that you are ill.
Be sure to get plenty of rest and stay in touch with your doctor. The going wisdom that I have seen thus far is that we should go back to wearing N95 or KN95 masks now to help protect ourselves. A year ago, my doctor told me that we are all going to have to learn how to live with COVID-19. He was too right. Do your best to stop beating yourself up. Like it or not, you and thousands of others are going through the exact same thing right now.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I started a new job, and I am having a bit of difficulty acclimating to working remotely in this new position. For starters, my company is midsized, but it seems huge when I am meeting people via Zoom. It is hard to remember who is who and to build a rapport with people when everything is formal and distant. I was thinking it could be a good idea to organize a virtual cocktail hour after work one day to get to know each other. I don’t want to be presumptuous though, as the “new kid.” How should I handle this? — Social Organizer
DEAR SOCIAL ORGANIZER: I like your idea. Take it to your boss and inquire as to whether they like it, too — as a team event. It could play out in different ways. Inviting the whole team that you work with directly could work, or perhaps a subset. If you choose a small group and build from there, you may not even need to involve your boss. The other thing you can do is pick a person once a week to invite for virtual coffee during the day or a virtual drink in the evening. This way you can get to know people one on one.