Andrade-Rhoades struggled with the decision to fly home.
At first she wondered whether it would be better to “ride this out” in New Zealand, which has far fewer coronavirus cases than the United States and many other countries. She pushed back her flight a week before eventually deciding it was best to get back to the States before travel restrictions could possibly tighten more.
She was not alone.
“The flight between Auckland and Los Angeles was surprisingly full,” she said. “Every other flight, I either had my own row or there was no one sitting in the middle.“
When she finally arrived home in the nation’s capital — after more than half a day in the air and an 8-hour layover in Los Angeles — Andrade-Rhoades continued to take precautions. She left her luggage outside and wiped it down with sanitizer before bringing it in.
“I could have stayed in New Zealand, but me as a journalist it felt really important to be here and keep working if that was an option,” she said. “It's not the kind of career you pick to be on the sidelines of anything. It's important to keep people informed. That was a really big motivating factor in choosing to come back.”