Living through Coronavirus, with Ben Cabreana

Ben Cabreana and I have been friends since our high school years growing up in the Santa Maria Valley of California, that’s why I was shocked to learn he had contracted coronavirus in June. A multi-talented athlete and musician, Ben said he was at his “peak health” when he got hit by COVID-19, but it still put him through the proverbial ringer.

In this interview, Ben and I discussed the symptoms he suffered while the virus ravaged his body, some of the lasting effects he’s still dealing with even though he now tests negative for the virus, and the process of getting tested and contact tracing measures that Americans who test positive must go through. I hope this interview also serves as a reminder the coronavirus is a serious illness, and if any Santa Maria residents think they’re not at risk, they can think again after hearing Ben’s story.


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Published by Joe Payne

Joe Payne is a lifelong resident of the Santa Maria Valley who teaches music, performs, and tunes pianos ( He's also a seasoned journalist who shares his own reporting and opinion on matters local and national (

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