Despite the persistence of highly contagious strains of COVID-19 in Connecticut and elsewhere, restrictions designed to curb the spread of the virus are more relaxed than ever.
And while many are resuming travel, dining indoors or attending large gatherings, some who are immune-compromised or care for an immune-suppressed loved one face a very different “new normal,” one in which they feel left behind.
For some who live with or care for people who are immunocompromised, or who themselves are immune-suppressed, the “new normal” is anything but.
Pam Hunt has been extra cautious since the pandemic hit. Her 25-year-old son, Yehoshua, has Trisomy 13, also known as Patau syndrome, a genetic disorder that can cause seizures, decreased muscle tone, intellectual disabilities and skeletal abnormalities, among other conditions.
Yehoshua is deaf-blind, has cognitive disabilities and relies on the use of a wheelchair, his mother said.
“He’s just an amazing young man,” she said. “He wasn’t supposed to live to be a year old. So to know that he’s going to celebrate 26 years next month, that’s an accomplishment.”
Keeping her son safe from COVID-19 means forgoing get-togethers with family and friends, talking to visitors from their cars, skipping activities like the movies, and limiting trips out of the home to what’s necessary, such as doctor appointments or grocery store runs.
“It’s not so much I’m afraid for myself; I’m afraid that I might bring something back here,” said Hunt, a breast cancer survivor who lives in Norwich. Along with the other risks, Yehoshua relies on his sense of touch and smell, and some COVID patients have lost their sense of smell.
As many people stop wearing masks and resume pre-pandemic outings, Hunt said she feels forgotten.
“It’s like there’s a part of us that are being left behind, because the majority of people are quote-unquote normal and healthy, can just get up and go, and kind of live life in this new normal,” she said. “But then there’s so many of us who don’t have that luxury.”
To Hunt, the message seems to be, “We got to go with the majority, and the majority of people can handle this new normal. This is for the good of ‘the more.’ … ‘We’re going on with life and the world’s going on. And hopefully one day you can rejoin us, but if not, good luck.’”