Vulcans Volleyball Coach Pens 'Covid Chronicles'
By Allegra Diaz
This past year, our community has been faced with the challenge of staying healthy and fending off the COVID-19 virus. We’ve been encouraged to social distance, wear masks, and get vaccinated. However, as Chris Leonard discovered this summer, “Even if you’re vaccinated, you aren’t bulletproof.” Chris Leonard, the UH Hilo Volleyball coach, got COVID this summer — even though he is vaccinated.
In July of 2021, he began to show symptoms of the virus. Once he figured out that there was a chance he would test positive, he began to isolate behind closed doors in his house. Though he was separated from his wife, he was comforted to know that she was still on the other side of the door.
As the days of isolation continued, Leonard began to reach out to his coworkers and his team, before finally sharing the news publicly. He created “COVID Chronicles” on Facebook to share his experience with others. In one of his posts, he described how he had to take himself to the ER. “It was a scary and lonely experience, especially when the doctor came in wearing a hazmat suit,” he recalled. Leonard had hoped that his COVID Chronicles would be eye opening for others and teach them that we as a community still need to be vigilant. “If it can happen to me, it can happen to you,” Leonard said. He wanted his COVID Chronicles to convey the loneliness and isolation of being in quarantine, and what “an emotional rollercoaster” it was for him.
Leonard wants students to remember that “we are not out of the woods yet.” We need to keep taking care of ourselves and practice the safety guidelines set out for us by health officials. “While we all have individual decisions to make, we need to understand that these decisions impact more than just us,” Leonard said. He also urges people to get vaccinated. “We can’t be reliant on everyone else to do the work, we need to care for ourselves,” Leonard said, adding,
“While we all have individual decisions to make, we need to understand that these decisions impact more than just us.”