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Mariners reporter Ryan Divish got vaccinated because he doesn’t want COVID-19 again. He suggests you get the vaccine, too.

Ryan Divish caught COVID-19. He doesn’t want you to do the same. 

“I felt horrible for 4 or 5 days,” he said. “I want to make sure nobody has to go through that, because it was scary.”

Divish experienced some common symptoms of COVID-19: Fever, headache and tiredness. That’s why he got vaccinated.

“I had COVID,” he said. “My dad had COVID. My uncle had COVID. My dad and my uncle got really sick and my uncle was in the hospital for a month.”

It was October and vaccines were not yet available. Divish was visiting his parents in Montana. 

“We were watching the World Series and having a good time,” he said. “A day later, my dad said he felt really terrible, and he couldn’t taste anything.”

The diagnosis was quick. Two days after that, Divish also tested positive for COVID-19.

“I isolated with my parents in my childhood home for 13 days,” he said. “Not something I’d recommend. I had really bad headaches. Imagine the worst hangover of your life, and there’s nothing you can do to get rid of it. That’s what I had for 4 days.”

And yet, he considers himself lucky.

“My dad lost about 30 pounds,” Divish said. “He had headaches every day. My uncle was in the hospital on oxygen. One of my dad’s good friends was in there with him. We couldn’t go see them. We couldn’t do anything. That’s not something you want to happen to anybody.”

The experience made one thing clear: As soon as the vaccine was available, Divish was going to get it.

“I like to gamble a lot,” he said. “But not taking the vaccine? That’s not a gamble I’d take.”

Ryan Divish holds a sign encouraging people to get vaccinated.

Protect your home turf.

Divish was born and raised in Havre, Montana, but his adopted hometown is Tacoma. 

“It’s just this little gem,” he said. “I love it here. I can’t imagine living anywhere else in the state of Washington. It’s my home.”

He first came to Tacoma in 2006 as an intern at The News Tribune, which led to a fulltime job as a sports reporter. He eventually took over the Mariners beat and in 2013 he joined the Seattle Times to lead their coverage of the team. Despite the longer commute, he’s remained a loyal resident of the South Sound.

“I’ve met most of my friends in Tacoma,” he said. “I tell my friends who don’t live here that they should move here—and several have.”

Love for his adopted home is a big reason Divish wants everybody who is eligible in Pierce County to get vaccinated for COVID-19. He wants to get life back to normal and sees the vaccine as the key. 

Stadiums aren’t the only things that have been empty.

Divish said he looks forward to getting out into the community. 

“The Taste of Tacoma down at Point Defiance,” he said. “Food trucks at Cheney Stadium. The Farmers Market on Thursdays. All those things we’ve been missing. We want to get back to that.”

And of course, baseball.

“I missed the Rainiers,” he said. “Going to the Summit Club with my friends. Having beers and watching baseball as a fan. I missed that last year.”

“We took so much stuff for granted that we were able to do. Now that we’ve seen life in a pandemic, I know we never want to get back to that. So, do the things necessary to make sure it stays the way we want it and get the vaccine.”

Baseball, work and COVID-19.

Divish isn’t just a fan of baseball, of course. It’s his job—one made harder by COVID-19.

“It’s been difficult,” he said. “We do everything by Zoom. It’s very impersonal. You’re looking into a screen. Half the time it doesn’t work. Somebody’s never muted. Everything is very impersonal and by that nature most of the information we get is the same.”

The 2020 season was shortened to just 60 games and fans weren’t allowed at T-Mobile Park. That’s changed this year, with the Mariners even adopting vaccinated-only sections to expand capacity. 

“You’re seeing more fans in stadiums,” he said. “You’re seeing people not have to wear masks. We are getting closer, but this last little bit we’ve hit this plateau, and that’s what’s keeping us from getting all the way back—the reluctance of some to get the vaccine.”

That includes some of the players.

“We’ve seen it with the Mariners,” he said. “Several players are not getting the vaccine and by consequence they have to wear masks in the dugout.”

On May 20, the team placed four of them on the COVID injured list due to a potential exposure

“The Mariners players right now—because a lot of them are not vaccinated and they can’t get to the Tier 1, 85% threshold—they have less freedom to do stuff than a fan that is vaccinated.”

Another player was placed on the injured list May 22, and the team has scrambled to fill the gaps of those affected with players from Tacoma.

“If you really want to get back to normal for these players or these fans, you want to get back to full stadiums and cheering and going crazy and seeing cool things,” Divish said, “that’s what you have to do. Get everybody vaccinated.”

“Ever since this started, everybody has been saying ‘I just want to get back to normal.’ Well here’s an avenue to get things back to at least some semblance of normal. So, do it.”

Ryan Divish and his dad.

Relief, reflection and relaxation.

Divish’s perspective on COVID-19 and the vaccines will forever be informed by his and his family’s battle with the virus.

“I’ve never considered life without my parents,” he said. “I know it’s going to happen eventually, but that’s not something you want to think about. It definitely scared me.”

His aunt and sister are both nurses, and Divish gained some perspective from them as well. 

“You know cancer is out there,” he said. “You know heart attacks are out there. Strokes. All these things, you know they’re out there. And we do all these things to combat that. Why wouldn’t we do the same with COVID?”

It seems simple, he said, to trust in medicine and science just like we do for so many other things.

“There’s a vaccine out there that limits the risk of getting COVID-19 for you and the people you care about,” he said. “It limits the side effects if you do get the disease. Why wouldn’t you get that? Not taking it just seems irresponsible.”

COVID-19 vaccines are the best path toward mask-free living and a return to what life was like before the pandemic—something Divish already sees happening.

“There’s a relaxed feeling to everything again since getting vaccinated,” he said. “With COVID, we’ve been on edge for so long. Now, you’re definitely more relaxed. You don’t feel afraid. I think that’s a terrible way to live—afraid—and now you don’t have to live that way anymore.”

Register for your vaccination today at tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture. Everyone 12 and older is eligible. You can also drop in at any clinic and get vaccinated without an appointment. 

If you need a ride to an appointment or can’t easily leave your home, we can help! Call us at (253) 649-1412, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 7 days a week.

Your role to stop the spread of COVID-19 remains critical.

UPDATED: 06/15/2021