A Greene County couple who recently tested positive for COVID-19 said they want to reinforce to people the seriousness of the virus, and remind the public that they should do all they can to protect themselves and others.
Steve and Sophia Luster, both of whom retired from the U.S. Navy, tested positive about a week ago. Immediately after learning about their test results, they took every precaution to protect loved ones and friends, even if it was initially embarrassing.
“I really do not believe that people are taking this thing as seriously as they should,” said Steve Luster.
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Being infected with the coronavirus gives Sophia Luster a different perspective, and she urged people not to joke about the pandemic. It’s especially disappointing when people in their professional or personal circles make a mockery of a deadly virus, she said.
“Just being in this situation, it’s kind of heartbreaking that people are insensitive about it,” she said. “So what we want to do is bring awareness, so people are sensitive to people around you.”
Sophia Luster, a Wright-Patterson Air Force Base employee, tested positive first. She went to her doctor for a scheduled visit and while looking at her blood work, they noticed some abnormalities and tested her for COVID-19. Given the possibility that she could have the virus, doctors recommend that her husband get tested as well.
Neither one showed symptoms at the time of the tests, although they are now displaying them, the couple said. They’re in relatively good health and are dealing with it as best as they can, they said, adding that some days are better than others.
“For me, it’s no worse than a cold; I’ve had cold that’s been worse,” Steve Luster said.
Sophia Luster said her bosses at Wright-Patt have been supportive, and Greene County Public Health checks on them regularly to ensure they are progressing.
When she learned about her test result, Sophia Luster said she panicked initially, and felt embarrassed, although she knew it was nothing she’d done wrong.
“There was a myriad of emotions,” she said. “When someone tells you something that the world is experiencing at an aggregate level and then you’re like one of the ones, it’s kind of like, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to be ostracized.’”
Although he was surprised that his result was positive given his good health, Steve Luster said he felt little emotions when he got the news. He was more concerned about the impact it would have on his loved ones and friends. So he did more research about the virus to ensure that he and his wife don’t unknowingly spread it to others.
It’s not clear to them how they got infected with the coronavirus. They’ve not traveled out of the area recently, and other than running errands to the grocery store and other places, they normally go to work and return home.
“At some point I can’t narrow it down to where I got it,” Sophia Luster said. “It is what it is and I just have to deal with it accordingly.”
Although the pandemic is widespread, the couple say they and others who’ve been infected may be stigmatized. But those who’ve been affected should not feel ashamed because they’ve done nothing wrong.
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The Lusters’ message to others who may be in a similar predicament is that they take the virus seriously and do their due diligence. Praying regularly has helped them manage the stress and their friends and family have been supportive.
“But people that have it need to understand that this thing is so, so unpredictable that you just don’t know so you can’t beat yourself up or blame yourself because until you get tested there’s really no way of knowing,” Steve Luster said.
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