My viral viewpoint

By Dan Wehmer
Webster County Citizen (reprinted with permission)
As of last Tuesday, I personally knew one person who I could confirm had the COVID-19 virus.
A day later, that number was seven.
And I was one of the seven.
If you noticed my absence from the office last week, which will continue into this week, you now know the reason. I tested positive for coronavirus.
I'm not sure how I contracted it. Perhaps I was in the wrong restaurant at the wrong time. Maybe I didn't disinfect a shopping cart properly. I could've touched my face after touching an infected surface. Or it may have been bad luck.
It really doesn't matter.
Fact is, I got the "Rona," as many jokingly call it.
Let me tell you, when you're my age, this virus isn't easy to overcome, especially when you have pre-existing medical conditions as I do, including diabetes, being a bit overweight (or maybe more than a bit) and having reduced lung capacity after a bout with Legionnaire's Disease a few years ago.
Fortunately for me, Rona didn't do its damage in my lungs. I avoided that nightmare, which likely would have led to hospitalization.
Instead, I've battled extreme fatigue, body soreness to the tune of feeling like I've been beaten by a mob, low-grade fevers, headaches and some stomach issues.
It's a lot like having the flu.
My biggest obstacle has been the fatigue. This virus has left me drained.
Others infected locally, the aforementioned six, have given different reports.
My analysis is that the younger you are, the easier you'll recover.
My oldest son, Rob, is infected. He's handled the virus much better than me. He's 22 and perfectly healthy. As of Sunday, five days after testing positive, he's pretty much symptom free.
It's not been so easy for people around my age who are infected. We're getting better, albeit in the "two steps forward, one step back" manner.
I'll say this ... it's evident that COVID-19 is highly contagious. I didn't do anything in my life that would personally welcome the disease. I've not attended wild parties, dance clubs or close-quartered group events.
Quite frankly, I've tried to avoid people and have maintained social distancing.
I'm not a hugger.
But I've not been diligent about frequently washing my hands or using sanitizer. There are many times I've shopped and used a cart without wiping it down. 
I shook hands. I've eaten with my hands ... a lot.
My point is that I could've been more careful.
That said, I also see the big picture. And this picture is being painted by a person who is infected with COVID-19 and at high risk for serious health issues because of being infected.
Life must go on.
Businesses must stay open.
Schools must try to have seated instruction.
People must leave their homes, go to work and live their lives.
Elections must be held.
Factories must produce goods.
Builders must build.
The list is endless.
What we can do is simply take personal responsibility to take the steps necessary to stay as safe as possible. And in doing so, we need to be respectful of others.
When mask rules are mandated, wear one.
Don't want to follow mask rules? Fine. It's your choice to not visit these locations.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, such as a lingering cough or a fever, go get tested. Err on the side of caution for both your sake and others.
As we transition very soon from the summer to fall, then from the fall to winter, it's likely the number of COVID-19 cases will spike locally and nationally.
With the increased number of cases, also increasing are the chances you will become infected. As one of the organizers of the Seymour Apple Festival for the Seymour Merchants' Association, I now have no regrets that I voted against holding this year's event. Holding the festival would have been reckless in a county that just last week saw its largest single-week COVID-19 case spike since the pandemic hit in early March.
To that end, be mindful that this virus is out there, highly contagious, and in most cases it hits older folks harder.
Again, shutting down the country would do more damage than it would prevent. 
Economic ruin isn't the antidote for COVID-19. Thinking it is reminds me of the old adage about "stomping on the piss ants while the elephants are busting down the walls."
But practicing prevention costs very little.
I wish that I'd have done that better.
Dan Wehmer is the Citizen's editor, publisher and owner. He can be reached at 417-935-2257 or via e-mail at

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