BEIJING -- “Hey Matt.”
Nothing good ever follows that message from the boss. I try to think of anything I obviously screwed up, but I come up blank.
I reply, trying to get ahead of whatever I stepped in with an exclamation point.
“Your test from this morning came back positive.”
Halfway through my Olympic Games as an Associated Press photographer — just as ice hockey really gets flying at the National Indoor Stadium — I get grounded by COVID-19. I’m leaving a ton of work for my teammates.
Long days and short nights, halfway around the world from home. I don’t have time to be sick. I guess time will slow down now.
I feel fine. No symptoms. And none in the last 27 days of self-health monitoring and temperature checks. I was doing well — even brought a thermometer to China. I didn’t take risks or have much fun.
While in Beijing, I’ve only traveled to the airport, hotel, media center, arena and slope, all from the back of the bus. Now, I make the same trip in an ambulance.
No one seemed in a rush to snatch me away from the arena. The folks on the ambulance are in spacesuits, but they are friendly.
It smells heavily of disinfectant, making me wonder how many others have ridden this bus to the end of their Olympics.
Hours later, I am free. Two negative test results and back to work.
Matt Slocum is a photographer for The Associated Press, on assignment in Beijing for the Olympics.