LOS ANGELES — During the pandemic, talent agent Martijn Hostetler took every precaution. He pretty much stayed couped up in his Hollywood home.
"I did everything right. I didn't go anywhere for Christmas. You know, I haven't put myself in any risky situations," Hostetler said.
He buried himself in work and got the vaccine as soon as he could, all the way back in March.
He had barely started getting back into his social routine and gym time when a few weeks ago, his trainer, who was also fully vaccinated, told him he had tested positive for the virus.
Days later, Hostetler tested positive too.
"I was like, 'Is it really that easy? So I was frustrated because I got an email that you have to quarantine for 14 days," Hostetler said.
To say that Hostetler is sick of quarantines and home time is an understatement. His escape has been playing the piano.
"It's some way to get out of your head, out of like the space of I'm here in your house," Hostetler said.
He admitted that becoming infected makes him upset thinking about people who have not received their shots.
"We don't know if vaccinated people can transmit, but we know unvaccinated people are transmitting like wildfire, so you know, I think people need to think long and hard about why they're not getting vaccinated," Hostetler said.
Hostetler worries he might have ended up in the ER if he didn't get vaccinated, and officials say the shot is keeping people out of the hospital.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, out of 160 million people vaccinated, only 6,000 people who got COVID-19 ended up hospitalized or dying.
Dr. Cedric Rutland, a pulmonary critical care doctor in Los Angeles and Orange County, has been tending to the new surge of COVID-19 patients locally.
"I knew it was coming, but I think that people are beginning to understand the importance of getting vaccinated because the people who are getting vaccinated are not the ones showing up in the hospital or the ER," Rutland said.
Rutland, the national spokesman for the American Lung Association, said infections among the vaccinated were to be expected and don't alarm health officials. Some people show mild symptoms; others do not.
"It's like if you're playing basketball: you might not get beat by 20 points, but you still get beat by a point or two. The vaccine works the same way, so I expect to see breakthrough cases. It's not a force field. It just allows our body to scout the disease. OK, this is what it likes to do. I got it. I'm going to calm it down so that I don't get too sick," Rutland said.
As for Hostetler, he hopes this is his first and last bout with the virus. And if his story inspires even one person to get vaccinated, it will be music to his ears.
"I'm still going to play it safe, but I don't ever want to be told I have to quarantine for 14 days again," Hostetler said.