Taumarsh Pope, 47, of Silverton, Ohio, has gone from COVID-19 to a precursor to the dangers of the pandemic.
Single Mother and Eligibility Technician Hamilton County Job and Family Services in Cincinnati told ABC News that she was one of several Americans who had doubts about wearing masks and the severity of coronaviruses in the spring. At the time, she said she believed social media posts that questioned coronovirus data and coverage in the press.
“I was having doubts. Everyone who was dying … how did we know it was COVID-19?” He told ABC News.
Things changed on Father’s Day when she was diagnosed with the disease and for more than a month she had headaches, severe breathing problems and sleepless nights, where she said she felt she would not make it the next day.
“It was a terrible experience, and I never want anyone to go through this,” she said through tears.
The pope is sharing his story as a warning sign to other skeptics that the disease is real and to convey the message that masks save lives. He is now featured in an advertisement created by the Cincinnati Regional Chamber and The Health Collaborative’s COVID-19 advertising campaign, “Mask On”.
In a video launched a week ago, Pope tells viewers about his month-long work where he had to separate from his 14-year-old son while he battled the virus for more than a month. Pope said that all old beliefs against wearing masks and other health precautions are “out the window.”
“I look at my life differently now, because he can be six feet below me,” she said.
Pope said he felt a headache on June 17 and as the week passed, his whole body began to ache. On June 19, her boyfriend, Nate Allen, took her to a COVID-19 test center and had a temperature of 104 degrees.
“My whole body was in pain,” he said. “Everything was feeling like it was closing.”
A day later, the pain worsened, he was having trouble breathing, and was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. It was there that she learned that she was positive for coronovirus.
Because his blood oxygen level was still high, doctors told him that he would have to fight the virus at home and be isolated. The pope had his son live with his father while Allen stayed at his home to care for him.
“I kept thinking about my son,” she said. “I can’t see her graduating in high school. I can’t see her for marriage.”
The following month, the Pope described his experience as annoying. There were nights where the pain was so intense, especially in her lower back, that she could not get out of bed.
Other nights she said that she would wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air.
The Pope said, “I am living with great hope and praying that I do not die at night.” “Many times, I felt that I was not going to make it.”
Pope kept in touch with his son and his parents through phone calls and video chats, but he said he did not have the energy to respond to all of his friends and family. She posted updates on her status through her Facebook page whenever she had the strength.
“It was the only way to get so many people at once,” she said.
On July 21, the pope had good news to share: He tested negative for the virus and his son could return home. After posting the update on her page, she said she received the message from Regina Carcel Russo, executive director of the Regional Covis Communications Center.
Russo congratulated the Pope on her recovery and asked if she wanted to tell her story as part of the group’s latest campaign to educate Ohio residents to wear a mask. Russo told ABC News that the nonprofit was looking to target Black Americans and dispel any suspicion that the virus was not dangerous.
“African Americans when they see someone who is affected … it hits home,” she told ABC News. “We needed real voices.”
According to the city’s Health Department, Cincinnati has a total of 4,061 coronovirus cases and 78 related deaths. According to health statistics, the city has seen 2,980 new cases since June 1, an average of 45 new cases.
Pope, who still has a cough, said he jumped at the opportunity to help with the COVID-19 mask campaign and recorded his story. She said her message is simple, wear a mask to protect the one you love.
“It’s not going to be played with a virus,” she said. “when I said [I had] Pain, I mean pain. Sometimes it causes unbearable pain. You do not want to go through that. ”
Pope said he hopes his personal experience can help drive out other skeptics and, in return, they can tell their friends and family before they arrive late.
“I thank God every day that I’m here and I think God I can tell my story,” she said. “I hope it reaches young and old.”
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