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Gee & Ursula: The more people who share COVID-19 stories, the better

A sign at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle reminds guests to keep their distance. (MyNorthwest photo)

After working as a karaoke DJ at a party at the Eagles Club in April in the town of Republic, Wash., an event that led to about 100 people getting sick with COVID-19, one resident is sharing her story.

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In a Facebook post, Natalee Medina shared her experience being infected with COVID-19. KIRO Radio’s Ursula Reutin thinks it’s these kind of shared, personal stories that will help us get out of this pandemic.

“Don’t roll your eyes when I say it, I’m going to say it: COVID,” Medina said in the video. “Yeah, we’re sick of hearing about COVID. But that’s because we’ve been hearing about it for a year and a half and I haven’t really been touched by it until now.”

“Three weeks ago, I thought I was going to die. I had surgery, major surgery, and I came out of surgery and got tested because of being exposed to COVID, and I had COVID. So I went like a whole week with my heart rate at 49,” she continued. “I thought I was going to die, legit, guys, and it was scary.”

Medina says she would change her actions if she could go back in time.

“If I could go back and change it, I would because people that were here three, four weeks ago when we had the event are no longer here today and that makes me really sad,” she said. “I’ve done a lot of thinking and a lot of changing my mind since I got COVID. I used to say I have rights, I can go without wearing a mask. Not because I wanted people to die, just because there was no COVID around here for so long that it seemed ridiculous. It’s no longer about rights. I feel like it was kind of shoved down our throats to make it political, and it’s not about politics, guys, it’s legit like our neighbors and our family and our friends are getting super sick and some of them are dying.”

She’s now telling others to take precautions against COVID-19 and to get vaccinated.

“When you’re close to dying from something that you’ve been just kind of rolling your eyes about for a whole year, you feel really stupid,” she said. “So don’t be Natalie, don’t feel stupid. Take it seriously.”

Ursula believes that stories like this will make a difference in how much COVID-19 continues to spread.

“I believe that everyone who was really willing to get the vaccine for the most part has gotten it. So now we’re at the point of trying to convince those who are on the fence about it, still wanting to know more information about it, or you know, also the people who have said, ‘hey, this is nothing more than the flu’ and are still treating it as if they don’t need to take precautions,” she said. “There are these variants, there are these things, and it’s still circulating, and I am learning of more and more people that I know in my closer inner circle who are getting sick now this far into the pandemic, and I think it would just help to share their stories.”

“It really would,” Gee Scott agreed. “And first of all, I’m grateful that she gave her testimony and to tell that story because I believe that she’s going to help someone, and more stories like hers need to be told because it will help someone.”

Gee says it reminds him of being a parent when you tell your kids something over and over again, and then once someone else tells them, they suddenly listen and take it to heart.

“And you’re like, I’ve been telling you that the entire time,” he said.

“They’re so used to you nagging at them all the time that it needs to really come from someone who was enlightened or someone whose mind was changed because of something that happened,” Ursula replied.

“So this story and those of others, I believe that there’s someone listening right now that has says, yeah, I had to learn my lesson, or I had a loved one or a friend and I learned my lesson through that,” Gee said. “See that’s the beauty in storytelling, that’s the beauty in time, in history. We all can learn something
through this pandemic.”

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Ursula noted that we also need to make it clear that there is no shame in changing your mind.

“There are times when I say, you know what, I was convinced about this and just given what we’ve learned, I’ve changed my mind about this,” she said. “And I know that there are people who still going back to, ‘do you remember when Dr. Fauci said that masks don’t work?’ Again, a lot of things change the more you get to know. Yes, it’s not linear. Yes, there’s conflicting information, but again, the more people who share their stories, the better.”

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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