A man who tested positive to coronavirus says he regrets going to a packed bar last month where he partied alongside hundreds of people and shared shot glasses with other guests.
Becoming infected with COVID-19 was “the worst experience” 30-year-old Jimmy Flores has ever had, writing in an article for Today that before contracting the virus, he believed he was “invincible”.
Mr Flores suspected he contracted the deadly virus at a crowded bar in Scottsdale, in the US state of Arizona, on June 6 where “nobody was social distancing or wearing face coverings”.
“There were about 50 of us at a table. It was tight and there were probably 500 people in this place, maybe more,” he wrote.
The “very healthy and active” man said he thought even if he did become infected, it wouldn’t affect him significantly, if at all.
“I thought I was invincible, I thought that I wasn’t going to really get it and if I got it, I’d get it lightly. I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have,” he said.
Having since experienced the full wrath of the virus however, Mr Flores has changed his tune considerably.
“When I became ill, it was just so scary. It was the worst experience I’ve ever had. It completely changed my outlook on the whole thing,” he said.
Previously, he had no hesitations about going into public or crowded establishments, having remained at the Arizona bar for up to four hours without concern for his or anyone else’s health.
Two days later, his symptoms arrived - he woke up in the middle of the night with a 39.4 degree fever and immediately knew something was wrong.
“I was hoping it wasn’t going to be it, but in my mind I thought, this is obviously COVID. The result was positive.”
On the sixth day of the disease, Mr Flores developed serious problems with his breathing and within 24 hours said he could barely breathe at all.
“My oxygen levels were around 89 per cent, which is extremely low, and I was just trying to survive,” he said, eventually going to hospital where he was diagnosed with COVID pneumonia and spent eight days on a breathing tube.
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His condition began to improve slowly after beginning a course of aggressive antibiotics, and he has now returned home.
But it might be a while until he gets back to enjoying his previous level of health, saying that he still struggles with fatigue and being able to breath properly.
He has urged other people with a nonchalant attitude towards COVID-19 to take public health warnings seriously and be vigilant with isolating and wearing face masks.
“It’s only temporary. Think about yourself, your family, your community.”
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