Quincy News

Chiropractor says of COVID-19: 'never thought it would happen to me'

Dr. Kirk Gribler talks during an interview with The Herald-Whig. Gribler endured a relatively mild case of COVID-19.
H-W Photo/Steve Eighinger
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Aug. 8, 2020 12:01 am

QUINCY — Admittedly, Dr. Kirk Gribler endured a relatively mild case of COVID-19.

"I was fortunate not to have any serious complications, but it makes you think twice," he said.

Gribler knew something was out of whack when his senses of smell and taste vanished.

"I was cooking hamburgers and couldn't smell them," he remembered.

Soon afterward, fatigue was a problem. So were muscular aches and a mild temperature spike. Fortunately, he had no respiratory issues.

Gribler, 58, learned he had likely contracted the virus from a patient. The lifelong resident of Quincy has served the community for the past 33 years as a chiropractor.

When learning he had tested positive, Gribler closed his practice and went into quarantine. His wife, Susan, followed soon afterward, and only in recent days has the family's life started to return to normal, or what serves as normal during a pandemic.

"This is real," he said, "I never thought it would happen to me. If I can contract this (virus), anyone can."

What is so frustrating for Gribler — and all involved in the health care field — is the uncertainty of the virus.

"There's so much unknown, and the rules seem to change weekly," he said.

Adams County entered the weekend nearing 500 confirmed cases with a 4.5% positivity rate over the past seven days. There have been more than 18,000 confirmed negative tests in the county.

The Adams County Health Department continues to urge the community to do its role in helping reduce the spread of the virus. Residents are encouraged to wear a face mask in public spaces, frequently wash their hands and remain home when sick. The public is also asked to avoid large gatherings.

"I'm still nervous in public places where people are not using masks — not so much for me, but for others," Gribler said. Those not wearing masks "might be unaware they could be around others who have COVID. If people would just realize that a mask is cheaper than a ventilator."

Published reports show that among the 45 countries with more than 50,000 COVID-19 cases, the United States has the eighth-highest number of deaths per 100,000 people at 47.9. Belgium has the highest per capita death rate: 86.25 deaths per 100,000.

But in terms of case fatality ratio, the U.S. is doing significantly better than many other countries. The country's case fatality ratio is 3.3%, meaning that for every 100 people with COVID-19, only about three die.

Among the 45 countries with more than 50,000 cases, the U.S. has the 24th lowest case fatality ratio. And the U.S. rate of 3.3% is much lower than that of the United Kingdom at 15.1% (meaning that for every 100 people with COVID-19, about 15 die) or Italy at 14.2%.

Gribler said he has battled feelings of guilt for contracting the virus.

"I was upset with myself," he said. "I felt I could have done more not to (contract the virus), and I probably had one of the mildest cases someone could have."

At times, frustration is also a problem.

"People are tired of it; I'm tired of it," Gribler said.

But the bottom line, he points out, is that the virus is not going away, so patience is going to be needed, too.

"This is a game changer," Gribler said. "It's different. COVID is the new kid on the street."