By Juli McDonald

BOSTON (CBS) – As parts of ‘normal’ life slowly resume here in Massachusetts, for our neighbors whose hearts are in India – it still feels like March of last year.

“It just seems like an alternate reality when I talk to my mother on the other side of the world,” said Caren Vaz.

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Vaz lives in Medfield with her husband and girls, but almost everyone else is back home – grandparents, siblings, and young cousins. Her sister is a doctor in a hospital just inundated with Covid.

“The positivity rate in Goa right now they’re saying is close to 45%,” Vaz said. “It’s almost like it’s in the air.”

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They’re worried about the emerging variants, and just how fast patients are becoming so sick – like her family’s parish priest.

“He did a First Holy Communion last Sunday for 40 kids. On Tuesday, he got sick and Wednesday he got admitted to the hospital and Wednesday evening he passed away. He was only 48 years old,” Vaz said.

The U.S. will restrict travel from India beginning May 4. As the travel ban goes into effect, Caren has no idea when she’ll see her aging parents again. The crisis there a painful daily reminder that Covid isn’t over.

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“I think we should be cautious about taking things too easy too fast,” Vaz said. “Before you know it we can be in the middle of something we don’t want. It has taken us this long to get to this point. We have to be more cautious than ever.”

Juli McDonald