Life Advice



Ask Amy: In-law might bring a stowaway virus on her visit

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

– Worried Brother-in-law

Dear Worried: This is a question you should be asking your own physician or do your best to follow the (frequently evolving) guidelines issued by the CDC (

If I were in your identical situation with a fully vaccinated household, I would not worry about a brief visit from a not-fully vaccinated person, but you and your wife MUST make this choice based on your own comfort level and health concerns, and the guidelines in your state.

Your half-vaccinated sister-in-law could conceivably carry the virus to unvaccinated people, but even if you caught the virus, your vaccination is supposed to protect you from the severest form of this illness. That’s the benefit of vaccination!

Is your sister-in-law planning to ignore all the travel guidelines that should apply to her? Viral variants apparently affecting younger and healthier people might cause additional spikes.

Your sister-in-law claims to have already contracted COVID, and this might be her justification for not becoming fully vaccinated, but I would be skeptical about this. You should understand that – for whatever reason — she might be assuming a greater risk to her own health (and others’) than you are willing to assume for yours.


One way to handle this might be for you and your family members to welcome a visit with her, outside and distanced, but to decline to have her spend the night with you.

Dear Amy: A little over a year and a half ago, my mother became ill, spent two weeks in ICU, another week in the hospital, and then moved on to a rehabilitation center.

During that time, her brother (who never married and does not have any children) had to have open-heart surgery.

My husband and I had the total responsibility of caring for them, in addition to caring for our own young children.


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