A man who tested positive for the coronavirus after Christmas has posted several videos on social media warning others to wear their masks and learn from his mistake.
“I didn’t think masks would make that much of a difference,” Chuck Stacey told CNN on Tuesday. “I was wrong.”
Stacey is currently in a Florida hospital for the second time since testing positive on December 27, 2020.
The 50-year-old told CNN when the pandemic started he equated the virus to a really bad flu and didn’t take many precautions to protect himself.
“I admit it I was wrong,” he said. “This has been brutal. I never knew that the human body could hurt so bad.”
Stacey’s wife also tested positive, but has been able to manage her symptoms at home.
On Monday, however, Stacey was rushed to the hospital for the second time and placed on oxygen.
The computer shop owner said his body was so weak from the virus that at home he would pass out when he stood up. He also said he had severe dehydration and body chills to the point of causing muscle spasms.
“Yesterday, was horrifying,” he said. “The doctor put me on high flow oxygen and if that didn’t work they would have to intubate me. It was very scary.”
From his hospital bed, Stacey posted videos to his social media urging others to wear masks. Although he isn’t sure where he contracted the virus, and probably never will, he said he believes wearing a mask would’ve helped to prevent it and spread it to others.
“My grandfather said ‘live life with no regrets,’” he said. “I definitely regret I didn’t have a different opinion on how this would impact everyone.”
Since the pandemic began, Florida has recorded more than 1.3 million coronavirus cases and 22,188 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Stacey said he started changing his views on the virus when cases and death tolls started to rise in Florida in the early summer. He heeded warnings to take precautions while out running errands like social distancing and hand sanitizing. He also started working from home.
But he didn’t think face masks would make much of a difference in protection, despite warnings from health officials. He says he suffers from claustrophobia, and felt he wouldn’t be able to get over that fear to wear a mask. Instead, he opted to wear a face shield.
“Once this got real, I wanted to wear mask,” he said. “At first, I didn’t think it was going to do any good and then I wanted to wear one but couldn’t with my claustrophobia.”
A face shield is not recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a proper form of protection to slow the spread of coronavirus. A face shield is primarily used to protect the eyes of the person wearing it, according to the CDC.
“Face shields have large gaps below and alongside the face, where your respiratory droplets may escape and reach others around you,” reads the CDC’s guidance on appropriate face coverings. “At this time, we do not know how much protection a face shield provides to people around you.”
Stacey hopes to get out of the hospital soon but he says he might still have to be on oxygen, even at home, until he fully recovers.
His fear of wearing a mask has gone away, he said.
“The fear of covid is worse then the claustrophobia.”