Bill Moeller Commentary: My Experience Catching the COVID-19 Virus


I ended last week’s column with my admission that, in spite of the shots I’d received, I still contracted “the virus.”

Maybe it had been building all along, but I wasn’t really aware of anything until as late as last Saturday (as I write this) during the weekly noontime Veterans For Peace demonstration held weekly in front of the Centralia library.

The vigil was over but I remained in the area to undertake an annual self-appointed task: “deadheading” all the bloomed out flowers on the two hydrangea shrubs at the west end of the memorial dedicated to local citizens who lost their lives protecting the rest of us.

When I finished, I was feeling tired, but that’s nothing new, and I had a temperature.

As I mentioned in last week’s column, the next day my son, Mathew, dropped by with a light lunch, as he usually does on Sunday.

But I was still tired, with my thermometer showing no drop in temperature.

We debated about accepting the possibility that it was just something associated with age or making a trip to the hospital to see if there was actually anything wrong with this old body.

Thankfully, we took the second option.

As the time went by in the hospital, after each test, the feeling deepened that something might actually be wrong.

Finally, it became obvious that we were correct in that assumption. I had contracted the COVID-19 virus even though I had received the available shots against such a thing.

What had gone wrong? 

It’s simple to say that we’ll never know for certain. It had to be contact with someone who, like myself, had come into contact with someone else, and so on down the line. This brought to mind the possibility that if I already had the virus but was not yet aware of it, I could have been responsible for spreading it myself — without even knowing it — when I accepted the opportunity to join the crowd at the Fox Theatre for a Business After Hours event. 

On the other hand, maybe that’s where I contracted it in the first place. There was a large crowd there with very few masks in sight.

I’m writing this a week or so before you’ll be reading it, so all I can say is that I’ve obeyed the requested episode of five days of solitude without contact with anyone else. Fortunately, I had a fairly well-stocked refrigerator and freezer.

There’s one thing, though, that seems to be twisting around in my brain, and that is whether or not I could still get another episode of this same thing. Hospital staff were reassuring that this bout with the virus had been stopped, that it was caught in the early stage, but that’s no assurance that another episode couldn’t be just around the corner.

And, speaking of hospital staff, I received nothing less than the finest attention and concern. I had to chuckle when I noticed that the doctor who gave me one last shot before granting the OK for me to be released was the same one who had sewed my nose together only a couple of weeks earlier after I had tripped and fallen.

But, back to a more serious vein, I now feel like a walking specimen for all the advice we have been receiving from health experts. I am “elderly” but not too mentally impaired — or so I claim. I did take the prescribed precautions. I had those first three shots, but had not yet had a fourth one.

And, thankfully, though I got COVID-19, even at my advanced age, I only suffered a fever and something akin to a minor discomfort of flu.

Who knows how things would have turned out if I had chosen to not listen to the health advice we have all been given?  Now if they would just come up with a vaccination against tripping and landing facedown in the street.


Bill Moeller is a former entertainer, mayor, bookstore owner, city council member, paratrooper and pilot living in Centralia. He can be reached at