Melissa Joan Hart has developed a breakthrough case of COVID-19—and she's urging others to "stay vigilant" as the pandemic continues.
The 45-year-old actress made the announcement in an Instagram video on August 19. "I am vaccinated, and I got COVID," she said. "And it's bad. It's weighing on my chest, it's hard to breathe."
"I'm mad," she continued, holding back tears. "I'm really mad because we tried, and we took precautions, and we cut our exposure by a lot, but we got a little lazy. And I think as a country we got lazy, and I'm really mad that my kids didn't have to wear masks at school because I'm pretty sure that's where this came from."
As schools go back into session across the country, there is much debate about mask mandates for students. Some states are requiring that students wear masks in schools while some are banning school mask requirements; others are leaving the decision up to local officials.
Even though Hart's three kids were not required to wear masks where they go to school in Tennessee, she said her youngest child "luckily" chose to since he was used to doing it from last year. "He came home bragging every day, 'Mom, I wore my mask.' And I was so thankful. And now, if he does get it, I can at least tell him he was a superhero to those in his classroom because he protected his teacher and his classmates from it."
The mom of three sons says that she thinks that, as of now, one of her children has COVID, and she's praying that her other kids and husband are OK. "I just really hope [they] don't get it because if someone has to be taken to the hospital, I can't go with them," Hart explained.
As Hart put in her caption, she didn't post the video "to be political or gain pity." She says she simply wanted to share her journey. "I really felt like this was important and how I'm feeling and what's going on with me and my family," she said.
Her experience comes as early data suggest that breakthrough infections—aka, COVID cases among people who are fully vaccinated—are rising, according to The New York Times. But as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out, "vaccine breakthrough cases are expected… no vaccines are 100% effective at preventing illness in vaccinated people." As more people get vaccinated, we can also expect to hear more about breakthrough cases, simply because there are more vaccinated people to contract them. Still, as The Times reported, "absolute numbers [of breakthrough infections] remain very low," and the vaccine remains the best tool we have against the virus. And even for those who do have a breakthrough case, most can expect to have mild or even no symptoms.
To end her video, Hart left viewers with this message: "I'm just scared and sad and disappointed in myself and some of our leaders and a lot of people, including myself, and I just wish I had done better. So I'm asking you guys to do better. Protect your families, protect your kids. It's not over yet. I hoped it was, but it's not. So stay vigilant and stay safe."
The comment section filled with support, well-wishes, and prayers for Hart. "Oh no!!!! Thankfully you are vaccinated – praying for a speedy recovery!!!! 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻," actress Patricia Heaton wrote. "I'm sending you so much love and healing prayers! Please don't be so hard on yourself! Just rest and take care of yourself. Thank you for encouraging others to be careful and safe! Xoxo ❤️," someone else said. "I think it's really meaningful you sharing this. It will matter and help many. Thank you, and I will be praying for your fam and you. Sending much love. I know how strong you are. 🙏🏽♥️," another person commented.
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