Former Weston First Selectwoman talks coronavirus experience, concerns
WESTON — As she continues to recover from COVID-19, the town’s former First Selectwoman warned residents that the financial toll from the new coronavirus might be worse than the Great Recession.
During a candid talk — over video — with Weston Today’s Ted Craft, Gayle Weinstein talked about how quickly she fell ill with the virus and the concerns she has for the town and the state moving forward.
Weinstein was first elected to the Board of Selectmen in 2007. She served as First Selectwoman from 2009 to 2015.
She started out as First Selectwoman during the Great Recession.
“We will get through this,” Weinstein urged. “We will be out of quarantine eventually. Kids will get back to school. Businesses will open up again. But there’s going to be a serious financial impact from all of this and that is really my concern.”
During the Great Recession, Weinstein said, not as many people lost jobs, not as many businesses were under threat of having to close and many people were not furloughed from work for one, two or three months.
“I saw what happened to our social services needs, I saw what happened to our real estate,” Weinstein said of the Great Recession. “I think in a lot of ways, this is going to be a lot worse for us financially.”
She praised Gov. Ned Lamont for establishing a team of experts to figure out when and how to safely start to reopen the state.
Weinstein stressed the need for supporting local food pantries or businesses that might be struggling during the pandemic.
She said First Selectman Chris Spaulding and the town’s Board of Finance have had conversations about what it looks like to reopen the town down the road. Weinstein said she has spoken with the board and Spaulding to provide some insight.
Other than concerns for the town and state, Weinstein talked about her own struggle with the virus and offered some warnings for others.
“I’m actually doing much better now,” she said on Saturday. “I was very sick for, I would say, two weeks.”
She said it came on suddenly.
Before her temperature spiked the night she started to feel symptomatic, she said she went for a long walk, cooked and went to the supermarket — wearing a mask.
“Other than feeling some mild tiredness the day that I got sick, I really was fine up until I spiked a fever at dinnertime,” Weinstein said. “I think that this really brings to light the fact that we need to follow the recommendations by the government because you don’t know if you’re sick or not until it actually hits you.”
She said she felt so sick at the dinner table, she had to leave. She said her health completely took a turn in about an hour.
Once it hit, she said she barely got out of bed for five days, despite having a relatively mild case. When she took a coronavirus test, it came back positive.
But how Weinstein got the virus is a mystery, she said.
“Was it the person who reached across me to get the broccoli because they couldn’t wait?” Weinstein questioned. “Was it when I was in CVS and a person coughed close to me? I have absolutely no idea how I got in contact with this virus but obviously I did.”
She said no one else in her home has tested positive or showed symptoms.
She acknowledged the “cabin fever” and the “itching to get stores open” and urged people to follow social distancing the governor's executive orders until it is time to safely reopen things.