Essential reporting in volatile times.

Click here to stay informed and subscribe to the Williamson Daily News.

Click #isupportlocal for more information on supporting our local journalists.

As he returned from treatment for COVID-19 at Walter Reed Naval Medical Center, President Trump appeared to strike a triumphant pose on the White House portico and said, “Don’t be afraid of COVID; don’t let it dominate your life.”

Over 7 million Americans have been sickened by COVID, millions more face economic ruin and uncountable numbers of teachers and parents are stuck between a rock and a hard place. President Trump must understand: COVID is dominating American lives. For a more personal view, I asked Huntington friends, who requested anonymity, to tell me how COVID is continuing to dominate their lives.

Jane and John Doe, who are near President Trump’s age, took sensible precautions and had not attended any big social evens before getting COVID. In July, Mr. Doe developed what appeared to be a mild illness that seemed to be clearing up. A week later, he suddenly felt awful, fell down and was unable to get up, even with his wife’s help. Mrs. Doe called 911; he was taken to Cabell Huntington Hospital. Mrs. Doe waited in the ER with her husband for three hours, until his COVID test came back positive.

Although feeling well, Mrs. Doe was told to leave the hospital immediately, go home and quarantine to prevent possible spread of COVID. She wasn’t even sure her husband understood that she was leaving him and said it was “the worst goodbye I ever experienced.” Since Mr. Doe was not tested daily, as was the president, John and Jane didn’t know that his initial illness was COVID and there was a week before treatment was started. Many COVID patients follow the same path.

The president was hospitalized immediately, and he was never alone; his own doctor and numerous support staff were at his side. Mr. Doe ended up staying at Cabell Huntington Hospital for five weeks, with about 12 days in the ICU. His only contact with his family was through FaceTime arranged by an ICU nurse, who Mrs. Doe said was “very special and wonderful.”

Mrs. Doe expressed great praise for Cabell Huntington Hospital staff’s care for her husband.

I don’t know what medications Mr. Doe received, but there is no chance he received the special experimental polyclonal antibody cocktail given to the president, and he does not have the home medical support as is at the White House. COVID struck Mrs. Doe a few days after her husband was admitted to the hospital. She felt very sick, feverish and exhausted, but managed alone at home. She has finally recovered, but months after his diagnosis and treatment, Mr. Doe is still weak and needs help walking.

Cabell County now has more than 1,000 positive cases. More than 18,000 West Virginians have been diagnosed with COVID, and almost 400 have died. The number increases daily. Currently, about 220,000 Americans have died from COVID which, according to Newsweek, exceeds American military causalities from World War I, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam wars combined.

Face it, Mr. President, COVID is dominating American lives.

Diane W. Mufson is a retired psychologist and a regular contributor to the Herald-Dispatch Opinion page. Her email is