Monday, June 1, 2020
The Coronavirus Pandemic-What’s Your Story?
Muffy Ritz had to uncharacteristically sit out a big hunk of spring skate skiing in March and early April as she dealt with COVID-19. But she has managed to turn her personal journey through it into an adventure laced with humor. PHOTO: Karen Bossick
Monday, April 27, 2020


Like it or not, you are making history. Sun Valley has had a front-row seat to the coronavirus pandemic in America, quickly becoming one of the hot spots in not only the nation but the world for a time.

And, overnight, paradise became a scary place. We have adapted, of course, but living as if everyone and everything could shed the virus has definitely changed our way of life.

Realizing that, the Community Library has launched a digital archive project to document the pandemic in the Wood River Valley. As Eye on Sun Valley reported a couple weeks ago, the library wants to preserve for history our community’s response from just prior to Idaho’s first confirmed case on March 14 into the undetermined future.

Muffy Ritz’s friend Toni Leuthold is among the first to unveil her corona art.

Librarians are looking for photo images, videos, sound recordings, poems, songs, drawings or paintings, diary entries, essays, memes from social medial and emails. To contribute, send an email to with an attachment. Or, call the Center for Regional History at 208-806-2630 or 208-806-2635.

Stories could focus on experiences of isolations, activities that helped you get through the stay-at-home order, how working for the restaurant industry was changed by the pandemic and how you stayed connected to your loved ones both in the neighborhood and afar.

It goes without saying, Eye on Sun Valley would love to hear your stories, as well.

Such accounts will likely prove a boon for those living in the Wood River Valley a century from now, should another pandemic occur then as it very well could. Eye on Sun Valley found precious few accounts of how the 1918 Spanish influenza impacted the Wood River Valley, save for a few paragraphs here and there in the Wood River Times and a couple references in one woman’s oral history.

Long-time Ketchum resident Muffy Ritz told her story of contracting the virus in Eye on Sun Valley a couple weeks ago, describing how she could no longer wake up and smell the coffee. As time wore on, she also wrote down the ways she says she was educated by the virus as a way of processing what happened to her. Here’s her take on it:

Educated - by the Coronavirus 

(The Silver Linings in a Dark Cloud)

 By Muffy Ritz

 Okay, I’ll admit it, these are strange times, indeed. Thousands of people are contracting the Coronavirus and getting the COVID-19. Thousands are dying, as well--people we know and care about. America and the world have been put on hold until this situation changes. The economy is tanking and most people are out of work, not knowing if they have the resources to make it through the next day.

 However, I’ve discovered many silver linings and have been well educated about a brand new subject which affected me personally- yes, I contracted COVID-19. Well, I think I did! I tried to get tested two times, but was refused, despite symptoms of chills, headache, lots of vomiting, slight fever, “bronchitis-feeling” lungs, coughing,  muscle aches, extreme fatigue, shivering, night sweats, no taste or smell (still with me on Day 34!) and being around people who tested positive. Hmmmm? Maybe I sound too “chipper’!

 Here’s some things I’ve learned:

 Let’s start with vocabulary and phrases! For me, it started with: What is the difference between an endemic and a pandemic? Then moving on to words such as “social distancing”, PPE, anosmia versus ageusmia, and how about “asymptomatic transmission” and “statistical modeling”?  Or “flattening the curve, Fauchi, Birx, the Cuomo Brothers?”

Now, these are household words.

 I love anatomy and physiology, having minored in both. I learned a tremendous lesson while out skiing and listening to the New York Times podcast, The Daily, March 27 episode, titled “A Kid’s Guide to Coronavirus.” The kid’s questions were spot on and the answers were very factual and easy to comprehend in a kid sort of way.

 Personally, dealing with Anosmia (lack of smell) I’ve also learned all about olfactory nerves at the top of your nose, which not only are responsible for our sense of smell but also are a gateway into the brain. The Coronavirus goes up into your nose and affects the olfactory nerves by wiping out smell. But then in some cases it can go on into the brain and affect the Central Nervous System, which can be very dangerous causing seizures, dizziness, strokes, cardiac issues and more. Scary stuff!

 How about Technology advances?  Zoom--it’s all the rage! I’d never have known about this great resource without our “Stay-at-Home” order during this Coronavirus crisis! And not being very tech savvy, I was pleased to know it wasn’t that hard! I’ve had four Zoom meetings and it’s becoming commonplace! Yay, an old dog can learn new tricks.

 Governors have become the front line during the Coronavirus. I have to admit, I used to know only a few governors in the U.S. Now, I have been listening to and getting to know Governors across the U.S. I never realized the importance and the roles they play in their states!  Some, like Andrew Cuomo and Gavin Newsom, demand respect, while being compassionate, caring, and effective to help their people deal with the virus. Others have been following party lines and going along with the White House Task Force, much to the dismay of their constituents.

And, then, amidst, this crazy, scary, uncertain time in our lives, there’s HUMOR. There have been photos, videos, cartoons, and songs over the internet that have cracked me up. Even when I was gripped hard by the virus, I still laughed out loud with myself at several postings.

,My favorites included “Chinese Solutions to the Coronavirus” and “Pluto,” the talking dog video. Also, an unexpected situation came my way--the “Coronavirus Diet!” I lost nine pounds in three weeks. I didn’t even try! I was allowed to eat anything and everything on this diet, and I still lost the weight.  Maybe the total loss of appetite, the total loss of taste and smell, and the weeks spent laying on the couch feeling like crap had something to do with it! Now, I’m healthy and those nine pounds are now four and headed back to where I started.

 One last random thing: I bet you now know how to draw a SARS-COV 2 virus  (our current Coronavirus)! Do you think you can draw an H.I.V. virus, or a Smallpox virus, or a Mumps virus? Oh, what an education we are all getting!

 I’m hoping to glean more interesting information from these crazy times. But, more than ever, I want people to recover for and our lives to get back to a “semblance” of normalcy!









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