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Jerry Dyer’s COVID-19 case be a lesson: Avoid social gatherings In Let Fresno Mayor-elect

Jerry Dyer’s COVID-19 case be a lesson: Avoid social gatherings

It was the presidential Election Night and politically inclined friends and colleagues wanted to share the big event.

That is how Fresno Mayor-elect Jerry Dyer came to be with county Supervisor Steve Brandau, Fresno City Councilman Mike Karbassi and Lee Brand, Fresno’s current mayor. They gathered to watch the returns at a local home.

Frankly, it was more shocking that neither Karbassi nor Brand were similarly infected.

Dyer said he developed a minor cough Monday morning. By that evening he was suffering from a headache, body aches, chills and a mild fever.

However, by Tuesday he was feeling better, and believed his bout with the coronavirus would be no worse than a severe cold or case of the flu.

“I consider myself very fortunate as I know others experience severe sickness and unfortunately, death,” he said.

Dyer will self-quarantine under the guidance of the county public health department.

And, hopefully, the gregarious Dyer will have learned the valuable lesson that COVID-19 keeps trying to teach: Most gatherings, no matter how safe they may seem, just cannot occur, especially among those as publicly active as politicians.

“The best thing we can get out of this is a pointed lesson to be learned: no one is immune,” said Rais Vohra, the county’s interim health officer.

Vohra’s point was reinforced late Tuesday when Granville Homes President and CEO Darius Assemi said in a Facebook Live session that he, too, had come down with the virus. Assemi was also part of the Election Night dinner. Assemi is one of Fresno’s leading residential builders.


Americans are weary of the public health basics — Vohra says “pandemic stamina” is needed — but they must continue to be followed if the virus is to be kept at bay until the hoped-for vaccine is ready.

Shelter at home as much as possible. If one must go out, wear a face mask and stand at least six feet from others. Wash hands frequently — soap and water work best, but sanitizer is fine in a pinch.

And do not be with someone who believes his or her personal freedoms are infringed by wearing a mask. That is a childish, self-centered attitude. For those who still cling to that notion, It’s time to grow up and face reality.


A get-together on Election Night is one thing. Fresno County public health officials are concerned about the two bigger dates coming up: Thanksgiving and Christmas.

That’s because the holidays have the potential to be superspreader events. With large gatherings of family and friends, there is greater potential for the virus to be transmitted quickly.

One holiday just past — Halloween — is being blamed for a rising number of cases in Los Angeles County. And Vohra said on Tuesday that Fresno County is lurching back toward purple status, the most restrictive in the state’s color-coded ranking system.

“This year Thanksgiving will pose a lot of risks for a lot of people,” Vohra said. His advice: “Keep it short, keep it small, and not so intimate.”

Gatherings should involve no more than three households and should be kept to two hours or less, Vohra said.

Nothing is normal in 2020. Healthy public officials get the virus — even a fitness devotee like Jerry Dyer. Holiday gatherings have to be much smaller than usual.

But failing to better manage the virus will likely mean businesses getting closed again, schools not holding classes in person, and sheltering at home even more than is done now.

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