Ray Benson Says He’s ‘Very Lucky and Optimistic’ After Testing Positive for COVID-19
Asleep at the Wheel co-founder and leader Ray Benson says he feels the love — and is feeling optimistic and lucky — as he recovers from the novel coronavirus. One day after revealing his diagnosis, Benson has shared a statement explaining his experience with the virus.
In his original Tuesday (March 31) Facebook post, Benson said that he'd just received confirmation of his coronavirus diagnosis after getting tested on Monday (March 30), 10 days after he first tried to get tested but was turned away because no tests were available. Benson's Wednesday (April 1) statement clarifies that he had been feeling ill since about March 20.
"Twelve days ago, I had become bedridden with headaches and extreme fatigue/dizziness. I made an appointment with my doctor on Saturday, March 21, to see what was up. Got tests for flu, etc. All came back negative. I then asked for a COVID-19 test," Benson shares. "They said they didn’t have any! So I just went back home and hunkered down to see if it went away."
Benson's symptoms stuck around, however: He was "extremely fatigued, just falling asleep all the time, headaches were getting worse," so he went back to the doctor on March 30 for bloodwork and a few more tests.
"After not finding anything through those, I was finally given a COVID-19 test and was sent home," he continues, "and said they’d call me with the results."
As he previously shared, Benson received the call that he'd tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday morning. He's "still very fatigued / dizzy and in bed for now," but "feel[ing] very lucky and optimistic" about his recovery.
He adds, "Doctor says if nothing further comes up, like elevated temperature, respiratory, cough etc., I should be in the clear in the coming weeks." However, Benson continues, he's frustrated with his experience trying to get tested for the coronavirus.
"It took basically testing for everything else to acquire a COVID-19 test," he writes, and his experience isn't out of the ordinary. The New York Times reports that despite President Donald Trump's statement on a Monday conference call with United States governors that "ha[s]n’t heard about testing being a problem," and despite the fact that testing has increased, states are still faced with a shortage of coronavirus test kits.
"Luckily I wasn’t around that many people within this timeframe and was practicing the standard things like washing your hands/sanitizer, wearing a mask at the doctor's, keeping proper distance, etc." Benson explains. "So I’d like everyone to know the 'symptoms' that are out there as ways to know if you have it or don’t have the virus doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone. They didn’t for me!"
The Asleep at the Wheel star concludes his note by urging fans to take the coronavirus seriously, to follow the recommended safety guidelines and "use your voice to demand getting testing out to everyone NOW!" He also asks for well-wishes and prayers for the healthcare professionals and other workers who are "putting their health and their families at risk defending ours."
"Please love each other and treat everyone with respect in this time of crisis. This is real and needs to be treated as such," Benson ends. "Be safe, wash your hands, STAY OUT OF THE PUBLIC, hunker down, and I look forward to getting out on the road and playing music with my band and seeing everyone ASAP!"
In recent days, the country music community has been rocked by the news that the coronavirus killed '90s hitmaker Joe Diffie, who died Sunday (March 29) at the age of 61. Other artists who've tested positive for coronavirus include Kalie Shorr, Laura Bell Bundy and John Prine.
The coronavirus pandemic has not only touched individuals, it's wreaked havoc on the entertainment world in general, with a tremendous amount of artists and festival organizers choosing to cancel or postpone tours and events for 2020. To date, there are 140,904 recorded cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States; 2,405 people have died of the disease in the U.S. alone.