Chuck Stacey of Florida has taken to social media to encourage people to wear masks amid the coronavirus pandemic. In a video from his hospital bed that has since gone viral, Stacey explains that he did not wear a mask and that he doesn't want anyone "to end up like me."
According to Business Insider, Stacey did not wear a mask because he is claustrophobic. Instead, the 50-year-old wore a face shield while at work and in stores, but did not wear them when he dined at restaurants, because he did not see the point if he was going to take it off to eat.
The day after Christmas, Stacey's body started to ache and he felt fatigued. The next day, he tested positive for coronavirus. A few more days after that, and Stacey was in the hospital.
In a video shared by friend Daniel Uhlfelder, Stacey tells people not to make the same mistake as him from his hospital bed.
"My friend didn’t wear a mask because he believed the lies from our leaders," Uhlfelder explained in a caption alongside the video. "Now, he’s close to being intubated. He asked that I share this."
In the video, Stacey states: "I believed this was just the flu, that it was all going to go away, that it was political. I didn't think a mask would help. You don't want to end up like me. I'm having trouble breathing. I may have to be intubated if I get any worse."
Stacey also revealed that his wife had tested positive for coronavirus, though she is recovering at home: "Bad on some days but not like me," Stacey said.
He encouraged anyone with claustrophobia to "get help" so that they can wear a mask.
"If wearing a mask can reduce your chances of getting this, even by 5%, just wear a mask. Do it for your children, for your loved ones. Do it for yourself," Stacey concluded.
Uhlfelder told Business Insider that he used to argue with Stacey about masks.
"It just seems like the masks become so political. People feel like if they wear a mask they're not supporting the president. It's just wrong," he said.
Stacey added that he "listened to the wrong people say the wrong things."
"He's a good guy. He has a good heart," Uhlfelder concluded. "It's very difficult to watch someone you know going through this."
The best way to prevent contracting or spreading coronavirus is with thorough handwashing and social distancing. If you feel you may be experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, which include persistent cough (usually dry), fever, shortness of breath, and fatigue, please call your doctor before going to get tested. For comprehensive resources and updates, visit the CDC website. If you are experiencing anxiety about the virus, seek out mental health support from your provider or visit NAMI.org.