President Trump’s COVID-19 comments draw reaction from San Antonio coronavirus survivors, loved ones

‘It’s careless to put it mildly,' says daughter who lost her mother

As President Trump continues to tout COVID-19 recovery, area survivors are skeptical.
As President Trump continues to tout COVID-19 recovery, area survivors are skeptical.

SAN ANTONIO – “Don’t be afraid of Covid,” and similar recent statements made by President Donald Trump, despite his coronavirus diagnosis, were considered “careless, to put it mildly,” by Dr. Erika Gonzalez, who lost her mother to the virus in September.

Gonzalez said her father, who is dealing with the death of his wife of 51 years, is home from the hospital but relies on a tracheotomy to help him breathe because of COVID-19.

“I think that, obviously, my mom’s perspective would be you should be very afraid of the virus,” Gonzalez said.

The president and CEO of South Texas Allergy and Asthma Medical Professionals said it should be “a healthy fear, but definitely not disregard the true damage that this virus can do.”

Ron Wilkins, a noted musician and kidney transplant recipient who was finally released from the hospital in the summer after testing positive for the virus, said, “It’s not nearly as touch-and-go as it used to be.”

Wilkins is teaching trombone again at Texas State University.

“I’m more mobile and more able, but I still deal with a few aches and pains I didn’t have before,” he said. “Mentally, you know, there’s at times I’ll have these little gaps still in the thought process.”

Wilkins said he considers President Trump’s statements “a travesty.”

He said the President should tell the people who’ve already died, their friends and families, and those still suffering from COVID-19, “Don’t let it dominate your life.”

Gordon Hartman, the philanthropist and founder of Morgan’s Wonderland, said he was among the luckier ones.

Hartman said he was never hospitalized but was diagnosed with a “moderate” case of COVID-19. He later donated convalescent plasma to help others.

“I had an incredibly bad headache. I had chills, fever, coughs, a lot of typical things you hear that come with COVID,” he said. “It stuck around pretty aggressively.”

Hartman said one of the plumbers helping build Morgan Wonderland’s Camp died from COVID-19 despite being a 49-year-old man with no known health conditions.

“So to say that we can ‘look the other way’ or that ‘we’re past this’ or ‘don’t let it take control of your life,’ I would say is something that has to be definitely heard with much caution,” Hartman said. “It’s something that does need to be taken very seriously.”


About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.