You’d have to be living under a rock since March if you didn’t know that wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, keeping proper distance from others and washing your hands were important keys to avoiding the coronavirus.

Apparently, Tom Mountain, vice chair of the Massachusetts Republican State Committee, came out from under his rock to attend a White House Hanukkah event and he learned a lesson. Mountain, to no one’s surprise except his own, contracted COVID-19 and has been trying to recover for several weeks. 

He told WBZ-TV that his family had tried to discourage him from attending the White House event because they thought he could catch the virus that has killed well over 330,000 Americans this year. 

“I didn’t listen, and now over two weeks later I’m still paying the price,” he said.

He took a test after returning from the Dec. 7 party and found he was positive – and already showing symptoms. By the next morning he was in a hospital emergency room, but was discharged a day later. His condition got worse a week later and he was back in the hospital Dec. 19. 

That’s two stays in the hospital for treatment, taking up the time, space and medical care that could have been used for someone who unknowingly was exposed to the virus, in spite of taking precautions.

To top it all, four members of Mountain’s family subsequently tested positive for COVID-19 and it’s anyone’s guess how far and wide the virus might have spread because Tom Mountain had to party.

Talking about his experience during his recovery, he said, “I was one of those people who thought I would never be a statistic. But any large gathering like that where you have people from all over the country, somebody’s bound to have it.”

The lessons are so embarrassingly obvious we’ll just let him tell it: “I have to admit I wasn’t the most careful about wearing the face masks, but now I’m zealous about it. I have no doubt about their necessity.”

And there’s more: “It’s not fun. I came very close — not once but twice — to them hooking me up to a ventilator.”

And more: “There are good days and bad days, but today I’m having a bad day. I have horrible coughing fits, sweating profusely. … I couldn’t even talk on the phone last week, but it’s getting a bit better.”

We hope you get better, sir. And next time, listen to your family. They’ve been paying attention.

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