Near Miss: Take It Seriously


Jazz Jimenez, Associate Editor of GUNS. She was mindful of taking COVID precautions,
but still caught the virus

Like many in our country, GUNS Associate Editor Jazz Jimenez tested positive for COVID-19 and this is her story. It’s both unique and at the same time similar to millions of other people in the U.S. We thought you’d be interested in reading what happened when a member of the GUNS family received this frightening diagnosis. —BW

I have COVID-19. It sounds strange, especially because I don’t feel sick at all. As I write this, I am an asymptomatic carrier — one of the 20% who has the virus with no outward signs of sickness and contributes to its spread. However I am not yet in the clear. According to the CDC, symptoms may still appear up to 14 days after exposure. I am hoping I stay asymptomatic, but until I am way past the CDC threshold, every sniffle, every sneeze is a cause for concern. I have reason to fear. Being hypertensive, a type-2 diabetic and a cancer survivor with only one kidney, I am a contender for a heavyweight bout with COVID-19.

November 10–19

While I am afraid of contracting COVID-19, I have a greater fear — unknowingly passing the disease to others. For this reason, I rarely go out. When I do, I wear a mask. I am blessed I can work from home, although I have to go to the office maybe once every two weeks to notify the magazines’ giveaway winners by mail or to ship prizes. I shop online and go to the store briefly every two weeks. I seldom visit family and friends.

But early this month, I let my guard down. I visited my aunt and uncle and was with them all afternoon. I would later learn friends who had spent the night tested positive for COVID. I could have been exposed to the virus; my aunt and uncle may have been exposed too. When I told them about this, they were understandably concerned. I felt I had to get tested as soon as possible so they wouldn’t worry. I got a schedule for a drive-through test two days away, but I wanted to get results sooner. Instead of waiting, I went to a walk-in, no-appointment testing site. I waited in line outdoors for more than an hour. In hindsight, this may have not been wise. There were more than 100 people and although everyone was masked and social distancing, the virus could have been lurking there as well.

November 23–27

I get the results four days later: Negative. I feel relief wash over me. I am planning to visit my sister and her family and had to make sure I don’t have the virus when I went there so I arrange for a drive-through test at a pharmacy.

It’s the same procedure as the first test but you stay in your car. A person at the window gives you a plastic bag with a test tube and swab with a long handle, reads the instructions aloud and then you’re on your own. You take the cotton swab, insert it 2″ into one nostril, move it in a circular motion three times and let it stay there for 15 seconds. Take it out and do the same thing in the other nostril (yes, with the same swab). Then place the swab in the test tube, cover and seal it inside the bag and drop in the pharmacy’s lock box.

November 29

I am walking my usual three miles in the park when I get a text saying the test results were ready. I wait to get home to check my email. I look at the document, without any dread, expecting results to be negative — until my eyes focus on the letters in all caps: POSITIVE. I couldn’t believe it. I had tested negative a week before. I call my sister. I hear fear in her voice just like when I told her I had kidney cancer three years ago.

November 30

This is Day 3 since I got tested and Day 1 of knowing I am positive for COVID. I wake up in the morning feeling nothing out of the ordinary. I don’t have a cold and I am not coughing. No headache; no body aches; no chest pain. I look at the test results again. POSITIVE. I call my supervisor to let him know someone might need to take over reviewing the proofs of GUNS and Handgunner in case I develop symptoms. I also send an email to management and my editors to inform them of the results. I hadn’t gone to the FMG headquarters in over two weeks so there was no chance I had exposed anyone there to the virus.

December 1

Still no symptoms — This is Day 4 since the second test and Day 2 since I learned of the positive result. COVID symptoms can still appear up to 14 days after exposure. I check my temperature: it’s 97.6º. My appetite remains hearty. No loss of the sense of taste or smell. I continue working on the proofs of GUNS and Handgunner. In the afternoon, the San Diego County Health Department calls to confirm I tested positive for COVID-19. The health officer orders me to isolate for 10 days from the day I took the test. If symptoms develop I should start isolating for another 10 days.

If there is one thing I’d like readers to remember, it’s this: Someone can look and feel healthy and still be infected. That’s why it’s important to wear masks and to stay six feet away from others.

December 2

Day 5 since I got tested. I wake up with the sniffles. Is this the onset of dreaded symptoms? I eat breakfast and start working on Handgunner to keep my mind off COVID. The sniffles disappear. Probably just allergies. Low oxygen levels can be a sign of COVID-19. Mine is 99%. In the afternoon, I work on GUNS.

When I shared the positive results of my test to family and friends, I was touched by their concern. A friend said, “If you need help, if you get really sick, let me know. I’m not afraid to come near you.” Another brought bottled water; some sent food. Co-workers checked on me everyday via text or email. Many prayed for me. Even in our fear, let’s strive to be kind. It is difficult, but it can be done. And if you’re the one who tested positive, any show of kindness will mean the world to you.

December 3

Day 6 since I got tested. Still no symptoms. No sniffles. No sneezing. Nothing. My temperature is 97.6ºF. Blood oxygen level is 99%. This diary is getting to be boring. But in this case, boring is good.

December 4

This is Day 7. I continue reviewing proofs of Handgunner and GUNS. Family and friends in the U.S. and the Philippines as well as a cousin in Africa reach out to me daily to make sure I am all right. But I am surprised to get a call from FMG head honcho Randy Moldé. He wants to know how I am doing, especially because I didn’t log in for work that morning. I assure him I feel fine and just forgot to click the “in” button. I tell him, “Maybe being forgetful is a COVID symptom.” I am joking but later I come across a New York Times article about brain fog affecting COVID-19 survivors.

Days 8 and 9. No symptoms. My temperature is normal. No work, so I binge-watch movies on YouTube. On Sunday, I attend church online and give thanks for continuing to be asymptomatic. Also grateful other members of our household tested negative and my aunt and uncle did not develop symptoms.

December 7

It has been 10 days since I got tested. I review GUNS, grateful for work that has kept my mind busy during isolation. According to the Health Department order, a person with a confirmed positive diagnostic lab test for COVID-19 — without symptoms — should isolate for 10 days from the date of the test.

December 8

I am officially out of isolation but will quarantine up to the 14th day. I am thankful I did not develop symptoms and I wonder why. Many theories abound why some are asymptomatic. Some studies suggest previous immunizations — against any kind of disease — could give a certain amount of protection. Well, I was immunized against tuberculosis, polio, chicken pox and other diseases as a child.

As an adult, I was vaccinated against tetanus, rabies, pneumonia and Hepatitis B. The first week of November, I dutifully had my anti-flu shot. Maybe health supplements also helped. I had already been taking Vitamins B, C and D plus fish oil even before the pandemic. I added zinc to the mix after the lockdown. Or, it could be divine intervention like when I was fortuitously diagnosed with kidney cancer.


I remain guarded as I emerge from this COVID experience. I have read about residual effects developing months after patients contract the disease, yes, even in asymptomatic carriers. I plan to regularly consult with my doctor on how best to detect these at the earliest stage.

I don’t really know where I got infected. Maybe it was at our house or while I was waiting in line to take the first test. It may have been at the grocery store or at the park where I regularly walk. At this point it is no longer important. What is important is for me to be mindful of what I need to do to protect myself as well as others, wherever I go.

Yes, even if I had already tested positive because the CDC says, “the immune response, including the duration of immunity is still not fully understood.”

While we have reason to hope because there are now vaccines against COVID-19, we should still be vigilant because the virus continues to rage. We may be strong and suffer little or no symptoms if we contract the disease, but we wouldn’t want to put at-risk individuals like our parents and grandparents in danger.

I will continue to wear a mask when I’m with others (in public and at home), wash my hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer often, disinfect surfaces, keep my surroundings clean and stay away from places where many people congregate. And I will avoid those at high risk of developing serious COVID illness if I can’t be absolutely sure I don’t have the virus.


A week after leaving quarantine, I learn five of my close friends also contracted COVID-19. Unlike me, they were seriously ill, most of them hospitalized together with some of their family members. One lost her father; another is still in the hospital on oxygen receiving convalescent plasma. This is the reality of the virus. This could have been my reality too.

The CDC says I will no longer be infectious 10 days after my positive PCR-test. Despite this, I will be spending Christmas on my own. My experience with the virus is too fresh: I’d rather stay away from friends and loved ones. Thanks to technology, we can video chat or talk on the phone or exchange text messages during the holidays.

I consider myself blessed because I get to enjoy the gift of life this Christmas. It’s sad more than 300,000 people in the U.S. will not because of COVID-19.