Kathryn Jones lives out of sight from neighbors on a ridgetop at the end of a winding gravel road, eight miles from the nearest town of Glen Rose, Texas. She thought she'd be safe there. "Sheltering in place was easy" and "I always wore a mask when I had to do anything in town," Jones writes at Texas Monthly. She added gloves to her outfit when visiting the post office and courthouse to vote early, but "I didn't worry about catching the [coronavirus] like my friends in Austin, Corpus Christi, Houston, Fort Worth, and Dallas did," she adds. "I live in the middle of nowhere" and "I viewed our place as a sanctuary." But as Jones soon learned, "there is no 'safe' place—no sanctuary—anymore." It was in late October, a week after she'd met a friend for a birthday lunch outside, that she developed cold symptoms. Then her sense of taste and smell "disappeared overnight."
Jones learned that the friend she'd met for lunch was one of 450 area residents of a population of roughly 28,000 to be diagnosed with COVID-19. Jones tested positive, too. "I was shocked" and "wanted to cry," she writes, adding she worried about breathing problems and other complications. They didn't come—her case was mild—but "I had no desire to eat and lost six pounds in one week," Jones writes. She thought she'd recovered after two weeks. But then the symptoms "moved from my nose and throat to my gut. I felt nauseated and had terrible heartburn and diarrhea for several days." She shares her story in the hope of changing perceptions in this quiet corner of Texas, where "very few" people wear masks and "some people view wearing masks as a political statement." "They think it can't happen here," Jones writes. "But it's already happening." Read her full piece here. (Read more coronavirus stories.)