Coronavirus a year later: Daniel Wendt, ‘A handshake means a lot more’

A year ago today marked the moment that COVID-19 went from a emerging threat on a somewhat distant horizon to a grim reality that would kill more than 500,000 Americans in its first year and alter the lives of millions.

The Dayton Daily News checked in with 12 area business and community leaders and let them tell us what they learned about their lives, businesses and policy making during the pandemic.

Daniel Wendt, Vandalia City Manager

Vandalia’s new city manager, Dan Wendt, a self-proclaimed extrovert, said the pandemic taught him to appreciate the small things, like handshakes.

“A handshake means a lot more, a face to face meeting means a lot more because we’ve accepted the risk and it’s with reverence that we approach our relationships with anyone because we don’t want to expose them to undue risk,” he said.

Handshakes used as a greeting or goodbye turned into elbow-bumps to minimize the spread as coronavirus continued to spread throughout the country and the rest of the world.

At the time COVID-19 appeared locally, Wendt and his wife were awaiting the arrival of their son.

“We were so scared, and we were seeing articles about women being induced early who got COVID-19,” he said. “For me it was a matter of, this is really scary and there’s a lot that we don’t know.”

During that time Wendt hadn’t started working from home but used protocol put in place to limit the spread and threat of exposure.

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