By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent
More than 825,000 people around the globe have been infected with the novel coronavirus, including at least 175,600 in America.
Now the coronavirus has hit a member of our family.
Jeffrey L. Boney, a multi-award-winning writer for the Houston Forward Times and the National Newspaper Publishers Association, is in the intensive care unit at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston after being diagnosed on Friday, March 27, with COVID-19.
“After experiencing several unconventional health symptoms during the early part of March, I decided to move forward with getting tested for the coronavirus – COVID-19,” Boney wrote in a text to NNPA Newswire on Tuesday, March 31.
“The results came back Friday, and I’m currently in ICU, working with some of the top infectious disease doctors who are working diligently to ensure that I get completely healed and back home,” stated Boney, who also serves as a councilman in Missouri City District B.
Boney, the founder and CEO of the nonprofit Texas Business Alliance, said Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee was “extremely instrumental in connecting me to United Memorial Medical Center and Dr. Joseph Varon.”
“When Rep. Jackson-Lee found out that I wasn’t feeling well and that I had self-quarantined, she called me and asked why I hadn’t told her that I had been dealing with some symptoms,” Boney recalled.
“I told her that my primary care doctor had told me to self-quarantine. She told me to go to the hospital and that she would ensure that I got tested on the spot without delay. The chief medical officer, Dr. Varon, was there to meet me and administer the test personally.”
Boney admitted being unnerved by his status as a COVID-19 patient.
Initially, Boney said he thought he might have had a case of food poisoning because he didn’t have the traditional COVID-19 symptoms.
“This has been an extremely unnerving journey of the unknown for both me and the medical team that is treating me because none of my symptoms were respiratory in nature, but were digestive,” Boney remunerated.
“I didn’t have a fever, I didn’t have shortness of breath, and I wasn’t coughing heavily,” he said.
What Boney did experience was a loss of appetite, heavy diarrhea, and pain in his stomach.
“Naturally, one would chalk that up to something like food poisoning or a stomach virus,” Boney said. “I began coughing up blood, which disturbed the doctor who tested me for the coronavirus, and he told me to come in ASAP. It was later found that I had pneumonia on the lungs due to COVID-19. I had contracted the coronavirus.”
Boney, a graduate of Texas Southern University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Management, has excelled in several fields.
He has served as an adjunct professor in the school of Business Administration at Houston Community College, and he’s received numerous awards and recognitions for his business, civic and community involvement, and his leadership skills.
Boney has received honors as an inaugural Houston Business Journal 40 Under 40 Award winner; a Fort Bend Rising Star Entrepreneurs and Executives recognition by the Fort Bend Business Journal; 40/40 Series Trail Blazer Award winner; and he’s an Outstanding Texan Award recipient from the Texas Legislative Black Caucus
For more than a half-dozen years, Boney has served as the host of his own nationally-recognized daily radio program, “Real Talk with Jeffrey L. Boney.”
He serves as the associate editor for the historic Houston Forward Times, the largest Black-owned, independently published newspaper in the South, where he writes various feature stories and articles, including his popular weekly column, “J Boney Speaks.”
The NNPA has honored Boney with Merit Awards for “Best News Story” and “Best Column Writing,” “Best Feature Story,” and the MillerCoors Messenger Awards for “Best Commentary” for his weekly column.
“I want to be extremely clear, I am in great spirits, and I plan to overcome this temporary challenge,” Boney said.
“But, please know that this is a very serious epidemic, and anyone is susceptible. It is time for all of us not only to know that this pandemic is real and affecting lives, but it is also time for us to take seriously all of the things that we are being asked to do by our local leaders and medical professionals.”
“This is serious, and it is taking lives as well. I still have a myriad of issues to overcome relative to pneumonia in my lungs and significant blood clotting in my lung. I have to overcome reducing my increased heart rate because my heart is battling hard to protect my other organs against the attack on my body from the virus.
“We can’t play with this. I am still battling over here and will see this through.”