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COVID+ after Paris & the heart of France 6/20-30/23

I tested COVID + upon return from the above tour. Stayed 2 additional days in Paris so arrived homeSun, 7/2. Tested on 7/4 due to symptoms of fever (very atypical for me to be sick at all) and was positive. Presented with fevers/chills/sweats x3 days. Sweats soaked pjs and sheets. Fourth day those symptons subsided and sore throat, mild headache and congestion started. Felt better by day +4. My employee health offered 2 medications (non FDA approved) and I decided to take the 5 day treatment of lagevrio (EUA) to zap any residual or lingering symptoms as my return day to work is 7/12 and 12 hour shifts can be draining enough! This is my first time getting COVID. I had both vaccines and 1 booster. This may be the newest strain—who knows—I just wanted to report it in case others visiting Europe are beginning to test positive and for data purposes. So grateful that I did not experience any side effects while on the tour so I didn’t miss out on anything and would not have felt like doing 12-15,000 steps a day! Lol 🇫🇷

Posted by
3997 posts

My June trip to Poland was ruined due to covid infection, likely caught while in the plane/airport over there.

You make a good reminder that covid is not disappear totally and with more summer tourism comes more possibility of spreading and catching the virus.

Posted by
302 posts

Thank you, Leslie! I am glad you are feeling better now and that you were able to fully enjoy your trip to France- as well as having a supportive work situation. Feel 100% soon!
Can I ask if you wore an N95 mask- and if so, when and how? I am about a month away from my first non- domestic trip (not a RS tour) and so far have avoided COVID with all the offered vaccines (have my second booster, too) but have also rigorously kept up with masking, including 9 hours daily at work. I eat lunch in my car...
I actually become less anxious when I only had to worry about myself, vs. how others were or weren't wearing theirs. So I am now used to being the only one on a plane, at a wedding in a mask, let alone a store.
So far, from the RS Covid- related posts most travelers seem to think it was contracted at group (unmasked) meals or perhaps before or on the way home from the tour itself.
In your case it could have been either? As with all the previous strains, this new one is supposed to be really contagious and current vaccines not necessarily up to this task. Eye roll....
More appreciation for sharing your experience and hopefully you have been able to enjoy all your photos and memories while recuperating.

Posted by
6 posts

Carlos, sorry your trip to Poland was affected. Have a Speedy recovery. Hope you didn’t lose $$$. 😷🙌

Posted by
3997 posts

It was my travel partner who got covid and it hit him pretty hard, I thankfully didn't catch it, even though I sat next to him unmasked during a 2-hour drive, before we knew it was covid. We ended up staying in the same hotel for the entire 2 weeks while he recovered. Unfortunately in Poland it's almost impossible to get antiviral covid medications like paxlovid, so I'm sure that shortage prolonged the situation.

Hope your recovery is much faster!

Posted by
14249 posts

Leslie, so sorry you tested positive but am also glad you didn't get sick until you got home.

Wishing you a speedy recovery!

Posted by
5137 posts

My husband caught COVID on a SRO regional train from Pompeii, where he was too hot to mask, in May. (I did mask. ) Five days later, thankfully at home, he was positive. He had a mild case. Five days after he was positive, I was positive, and in spite of the vaccinations, I was sick for three weeks, then two more weeks to recover my from the fatigue. So yes, it's still out there, and can still be a pain.
I wish you good health and safe travels.

Posted by
6 posts

Karen,

Admittedly, I may not have contracted the virus had I been wearing a mask. The vast Marjority of travelers both on airplane, at airport and in Italy were not wearing masks. It was risky to not wear anything on the plane but I feel like that was not my exposure based on the time frame of 3-5 days before symptoms begin. I suspect the numbers are going to be trending up with the summer travelers and crowds. I would suggest at least masking in the busiest and most crowded areas and on airplane/at airport if you are concerned and/or to protect yourself. The N-95 is difficult to wear for long so a surgical mask should suffice. Have a great trip!
🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷

Posted by
6 posts

Pat, so sorry you have had a lengthier recovery. I’m 6 days post diagnosis and feel thankful that it seems resolved for the most part. That was main reason I decided to go ahead with taking Lagevrio (not knowing how I would feel and needing to get back to work within 8 days). I would have masked up more but think It is easy to get swept up in the vacation mode after 3 years of masking and not traveling. Anyhow, I’m pretty sure we aren’t done with masks yet. I work in a hospital and we have had to wear masks until the last two months. I wouldn’t be surprised if that is short-lived also. My sister, who traveled with me and was around the same people, has not tested positive. Anyway, here’s to a speedy recovery and safe travels for the future! 😷

Posted by
6 posts

PAM, thanks 🙏 I actually feel pretty good right now….binging on NF….highly recommend 10% and Blood on the wire (acorn tv)! 🙌

Posted by
2497 posts

I’m sorry you got sick, Leslie. Yes, covid is still out there. My sister came down with the virus 3 or 4 days into our Alaska Inside Passage cruise with NatGeo in June. She was confined to her cabin until the end of the cruise. She took paxlovid and 2 weeks later had rebound covid. She passed the virus on to her spouse and another person in our group on the ship. My husband and I did not get the virus. None of us were masking. My husband and I had our 6th booster shot 2 weeks before the trip. Maybe that saved us? We are leaving for the NatGeo Arctic expedition on Monday. As much as I hate wearing a mask, we will be doing just that on this trip as much as possible.

Posted by
599 posts

Karen, I am one of the folks that did get Covid in Europe (France, mid May). I was hyper vigilant with N95 masks and we didn’t eat inside. I think I got it on a very crowded train from Caen to Paris; lots of fellow passengers coughing, nose blowing etc. I was positive on rapid tests over a 13 day period and felt very unwell for 5-6 of those days while in Paris, which was very disappointing. On the plus side, my immunocompromised spouse, for whom I take all of these precautions, did not get it in spite of sharing the hotel room for 9 days before we returned home. I continue to believe there is no rhyme or reason to who gets it and how severe it is. We had boosters 3 weeks before.

Posted by
4472 posts

"I continue to believe there is no rhyme or reason to who gets it and how severe it is."

This statement sums it up. There doesn't seem to be any way to prevent it and it affects everyone differently-and sometimes with untypical symptoms-I had neither fever, nor headache, nor loss of taste and smell.

Posted by
6091 posts

Thank you for the reminder that COVID is till "out there". I'm sorry to hear you were so sick. Carlos, I'm sorry to hear that COVID affected your trip.

I have had both COVID vaccines and at least 4 boosters. We are going to Europe in September, I plan on getting a flu shot and another COVID booster a couple weeks before we go. Other than age (early 60s) we are not in a high risk group. We have not had COVID. The COVID boosters really up the immunity but wane much faster than other vaccines even the flu vaccine. My husband and I still wear masks on planes, except when actively eating and drinking. We also mask in lines at the airport. We travel frequently. No, we are not psycho about being masked constantly, we just do what we can and are more cautious than most. We also think twice about eating indoors. We feel we have so far avoided COVID because we are cautious and because we have been lucky.

There are tour guides that continue to mask on planes and crowded situations. Many realized that in addition to not catching COVID, they are not catching other bugs that significantly impact their ability to work and thus their income.

My comments are not at all intended to fault those that have caught COVID. More so, that there are still ways to TRY to avoid contracting it. We do what we can and in the end, hope for the best.

Posted by
925 posts

On our 3 week trip to Paris in May, we wore masks in the airports and on the planes - and we were literally the only people doing so - saw nobody else on our planes in masks, very few in the airports. In Paris, we wore masks when we entered a Metro station until we exited - we would see some people on Metro in masks, but it was no more than 5 percent, tops. We wore masks in crowded indoor situations, mainly museums, and again saw virtually no other masks. We ate al fresco at cafes when possible, or sat indoors at cafes where doors and windows were open, air was circulating, and we tended to eat at times of day when the cafes were less crowded. We ate many meals when we were the only patrons at tables indoors at a cafe, simply because we ate at non-prime time. We never sat side by side rubbing elbows with other diners indoors at any meal.

We did not catch Covid, or RSV, or HMPV, or flu, or even a common cold. But still I feel we were fortunate - lucky even - to come out of the trip unscathed. We rolled the dice, took all the precautions we could muster, and it turned out OK for us. But we did not wear a mask full time outside of our hotel room, and we ate all meals away from our room, thus we removed or pulled down our masks to eat, but that was really the most exposed we ever were, and we feel fortunate / lucky it worked out for us.

One final note: we flew in premium economy - 3 of us - and we always had a row to ourselves, never had to sit next to anyone else. At times I felt the mask was not necessary, and I don't like wearing a mask for that many hours, but we did it.

Posted by
493 posts

Leslie, at least you were able to complete your tour and get home. I loved that tour when I did it back in 2015. But it is maddening that you feel you do the right things and still get nabbed, isn’t it? We masked on planes and buses and museums and were vaccinated a boosted etc. My husband tested positive 3 days into our RS Greece tour in May. He had cold symptoms and was very tired, sleep 20 hours a day tired, for a couple of days but gradually felt better. We were able to get home and then I got it too. Same thing, tired, cold symptoms but thank goodness it was only about a week to10 days of mild symptoms.

I’m going on another tour in October and I’m hoping to make it through this time, fingers crossed. It does worry you about how your travel dollars will be spent. We are all so ready to be done with this.

Posted by
925 posts

But it is maddening that you feel you do the right things and still get nabbed, isn’t it?

In a subsequent post, Leslie reports she did not wear a mask, not on the plane, nor does it appear she wore one on the RS tour bus or at group meals. And she says she now wishes she had done so. Not picking on Leslie, but not even she seems to believe she did all "the right things" to avoid catching a bug.

Going on a tour - close contact with others on a bus, group meals, etc - is an added risk. We were independent travelers, avoided a tour, for added protection. Hope we feel up to doing a tour in 2024...

From another post:

I think I got it on a very crowded train from Caen to Paris; lots of fellow passengers coughing, nose blowing etc

We made the decision to spend our entire trip in Paris. Primarily because when we pulled the trigger on it in Feb, the storm clouds were gathering for protests and transport strikes upcoming, and we did not want to get caught in that. Plus, we love Paris. Secondarily we did not want to spend any time riding on crowded trains.

My only point: there is always something more you can do to mitigate your risks, from wearing masks to limiting your exposure to others on trains, tours, buses, etc.

Posted by
3260 posts

Yes, Jojo, one can always just stay home and in their house to avoid Covid. However, there comes a point that one has to just move on.

I came home from my Camino and within 4 hours had symptoms. Tested positive the next day. No one else in my small walking group of women got Covid. Unlike other unknown people, I wore my mask on plane, train, Prado, etc. I did not wear my mask when walking and would not do that because it would be unpleasant and it does put a barrier between you and other people walking. I am happy I didn't develop it until I got home, but I picked my entrance and exit hotels for their services just in case I did. Who knows when and wear I got it? Yes, I could have remained in a bubble, but again, we have to move on. I LOVED walking the Camino and might never have such an outstanding experience again and now I have added immunity... if the remaining side effects would just disappear. LOL, but they will.

Posted by
302 posts

Another thank you to Leslie for the original post, and the additional response to my question about masking, and also to those who have shared their experiences. It's really helpful as my first overseas trip since 2019 nears. The tone has been supportive and respectful, which I really appreciate -and it has me thinking about the money belt vs non money belt exchanges that in the "good old days" pre COVID dominated the safety - related threads on the RS Forum!
With the important difference that COVID remains an unpredictable global pandemic (from which you can have no symptoms, or can die, or have debilitating and lingering effects) vs the hassle of replacing credit cards or a passport. Still, it's all about personal risk and what level of physical discomfort you can or are willing to endure to avoid it.
I do hate the sweaty money belt experience but, like my trusty N95s, just deal with it and wear both at all times. I am really worried, still, about contracting COVID but it's clear this isn't going away anytime soon and travel for me is so important for mental health. Thanks more for the responses!

Posted by
3260 posts

Jojo, I chalk it up to my Covid headache. LOL

Posted by
6091 posts

At least for my husband and I, we have enjoyed life during the "more active" COVID phase and continue. We didn't just stay home in our house, and I wouldn't say that we haven't moved on. During the more active time period we did all kinds of things that were really fun. We got a fire pit and invited family and friends over in the midst of Minnesota winter. We hosted Thanksgiving dessert by the fire pit for our families. We went to outdoor breweries. We scheduled happy hour on the deck in the summer and board games by the fireplace with our adult daughters who were living with us. We searched for new places to hike and outdoor venues. We had outdoor neighborhood gatherings with people spaced 6 feet apart. We lived, and some of what we did continues on because it was fun.

We've been to Europe, 4 times and Hawaii 6 times since the start of COVID. We just make conscious and deliberate choices. My daughter had to move to Honolulu at the start of COVID and was lonely. I felt it important to see her. I sat on flights for 8 hours completely masked to be with her.

COVID is serious. My mother got it in June of last year and is still affected. Personally, I think it makes sense to keep awareness up. I think there are ways to "move on" yet be mindful that COVID is a serious illness. There are ways to reduce the risk of exposure and people can make their own choices, and yes, some people will catch it in spite of any and all the measures taken.

Posted by
925 posts

Jojo, I chalk it up to my Covid headache. LOL

Ha, thanks...no worries...good luck to you.

COVID is serious. My mother got it in June of last year and is still affected. Personally, I think it makes sense to keep awareness up. I think there are ways to "move on" yet be mindful that COVID is a serious illness. There are ways to reduce the risk of exposure and people can make their own choices, and yes, some people will catch it in spite of any and all the measures taken.

Well said, agree with this completely.

I add that I was just as concerned about RSV and HMPV that were circulating here and in Europe this year, and I assume they still are. It takes luck to avoid catching any of these nasty viruses, but I do believe you can improve your chances on the margin and increase your "luck" by taking precautions, but of course there is no 100 percent effective prevention when you travel or even venture out of your house and go about normal life like going to work, the grocery, etc.

Posted by
2127 posts

Thank you (and other other posters) for sharing your experience. Serves as a very good reminder! Hope you are feeling MUCH better!!