Kerri Esposito

Kerri Esposito is seen with her husband, Ronnie.

Editor’s note: News-Journal advertising account executive Kerri Esposito writes about her experience after testing positive for COVID-19.

We were watching the Dallas Mavericks play when Mark Cuban reacted to the text he received about the first NBA player to test positive for COVID-19. That game finished, but the remaining games that evening and then the season shut down immediately.

My husband Ronnie is a New Yorker, raised in Long Island. Having friends and family in the thick of the pandemic early on made us believers. We didn’t question safety protocols health officials asked us to implement. We took those seriously and advocated for others to do the same. So when I woke up aching with a fever July 2, it sent immediate fear through me. I knew the coronavirus was now in my home.

I went to a free testing site early the next morning, waiting in line for two hours feeling awful. I received the results Sunday — negative. I was so relieved.

I thought whatever I had would be gone quickly. Later that night, I lost my sense of smell and progressively started feeling worse. I went to a health care facility and when I was retested, it confirmed what I feared. I was indeed positive and now had exposed my husband and children.

My husband is a small business owner. We had just opened his restaurant, Scotties Bistro, when shutdowns made us pivot how he did business. I was devastated knowing that he had to close and his employees wouldn’t have a paycheck.

While my job can be done remotely, it has been a struggle to work. I am very fatigued and find it difficult to concentrate on any task for long. I have had daily severe headaches and back pain.

Ronnie came down with fever and pain shortly after I did. We both are now sick with the coronavirus. It’s difficult because we have to take care of each other, and my children have to almost take care of themselves as we try to avoid contact while all under the same roof. While friends and family have been wanting to help in any way they can, they can’t be exposed. We are on our own.

We feel lucky right now that we aren’t experiencing any of the symptoms that change this virus from mild to life-threatening. As awful as we feel, neither of us is experiencing any breathing troubles, thankfully. We are not sure where I was exposed.

Our strong desire for our community is one of unity. Whether you believe in the severity of this disease or not, we are still all in this battle together. We want our own small business to open back up, and we don’t want to see any others have to shut their doors.

We miss all the events that are having to cancel, getting together with friends and family, sports and so much more. We get that it’s easy to drop your guard and to be tired of the restrictions. We also know it will take a collective effort from all of us to get this over faster.

Please take care of your family, your friends and our small businesses by wearing a mask. In all situations, please wear one. It doesn’t protect you completely from disease, but it does prevent you from spreading the disease. Wear it even if you are just running in somewhere or even if there aren’t many people around. It is the most patriotic, loving, effective tool you have, and it’s simple.

We don’t want anyone else to get this disease. Even in its mild form, it takes a lot out of you. We want to get back to some sense of normal as much as anyone. We really beg you to love your community and wear your mask. Let’s all work to get this behind us.