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STEVE FLORES: Let’s all say goodbye to the 'Rona'

My adult daughter Nikki recently went for a check-up at her doctor’s office. She was experiencing a slight cough, headaches and fatigue. We had several medical procedures in the family in the next coming weeks and Nikki just wanted to make sure she and her sister Brenna were OK to nurse us back to health.

Her husband Carlos and I were experiencing similar symptoms. All of my immediate family had received our coronavirus vaccine at the beginning of the year, so we attributed our symptoms to a head cold or a slight case of the flu.

According to my daughter Nikki, the scene in the exam room went something like this:

“Let’s take a nose swab and rule out COVID,” the physician assistant said.

“I have had my coronavirus vaccine so I’m sure all I have is a head cold,” Nikki explained.

A few minutes go by, and the physician assistant comes back and explains, “We have your test results back and you have tested positive for COVID.”

“That’s impossible. We all have had the vaccine. This is a bunch of bull (expletive),’” my angel daughter exclaimed out of frustration to the physician assistant, who by the way, Nikki respects and loves.

The physician assistant tried to calm my angry daughter and patiently explained getting your full dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t make you immune from catching it.

The vaccines are effective at preventing hospitalization, serious illness and possible death, she explained to my exasperated daughter. She also went on went on to explain getting the vaccine does not eliminate the need for masks and social distancing until the vast majority of people are successfully vaccinated.

Immediately after her appointment, Nikki called me. “Dad, I have the ‘Rona,’” Nikki said angrily when I answered. The “Rona” is her short version for coronavirus and is slowly becoming part of our family lexicon and is soon to be added to the Flores family dictionary. Her husband and I immediately went to get tested and yes, we both were positive for the “Rona.”

When we returned home, we immediately began to call family and friends with whom we had contact over the past 14 days.

This conversation was repeated multiple times:

Us: “We are letting you know we tested positive for the Rona.”

Family and friends: “Didn’t you get the vaccine?”

US: “Yes, we did.”

Family and friends: “Then how is it possible you got the ‘Rona?'”

We explain our newfound knowledge about the vaccine and what it does and doesn’t do. As word began to spread to our family and friends, pots of soup, enchiladas, lasagna, salads, homemade tortillas, chili and snacks began showing up on our front porch. We could taste the love in everything they made. That truly helped sustain us.

Fatigue, on-off fevers, chills, body aches and pains were the norm for us the first four days. We passed our quarantine period with relatively mild symptoms. Nikki still can’t taste or smell. Thank goodness we received our vaccine at the beginning of the year. I fit almost every category of co-morbidity and was guaranteed a bed in the hospital or worse if not for receiving my vaccine.

As of filling this column, Kern County Public Health Services reports coronavirus is spreading in Kern County at a rate not seen in months.

I have no political investment in your decision to vaccinate or not. Don’t look to me for guidance, counsel, or advice. I offer none.

As far as I know, party affiliations do not exist nor are associated with “Rona” spreaders. Republican, Democrat, Independent or from planet Uranus, one of you infected my family. You don’t have to be a FOX News, CNN or Newsmax viewer to be eligible to spread the “Rona.” If I knew who infected my children, I would ask why your opinion regarding the coronavirus vaccine and masking supersedes the health of my family and that of the some 116,120 Kern County residents you and others have infected and the 1,429 who have died.

I believe a good start is to find a cure for the political pandemic of contradicting science, misinformation and false statements.

Once the political pandemic is cured, I pray we all can say goodbye to the “Rona.”

Email contributing columnist Steve Flores at His work appears here every third Monday; the views expressed are his own.