Tennessee resident with coronavirus describes what it is like to be ‘patient zero’ with people asking if ‘you are the one’ who infected others
- Chris Baumgartner is the self-proclaimed coronavirus ‘patient zero’ in Tennessee
- The 44-year-old described how he and his family had endured the ‘mass hysteria’
- In lengthy Facebook post he shared an image of himself covered in bubble wrap
- Baumgartner said he is still recovering from virus and his symptoms were ‘mild’
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
A Tennessee father has described what it was like to be ‘patient zero’ when he became the state’s first case of coronavirus.
Chris Baumgartner told how he was repeatedly asked ‘if you are the ”one”’ by an ‘irrational public’ who demanded answers from him.
The 44-year-old was the self-proclaimed ‘patient zero’ in Tennessee, and said his symptoms were at the mild end of the spectrum.
But despite not suffering greatly from the disease, Baumgartner says he and his family endured ‘mass hysteria’ and the ‘stigma’ of having the virus.
In a lengthy Facebook post written on Sunday and published alongside a pictured of Baumgartner covered in bubble wrap, he described how it affected him and his family mentally.
Chris Baumgartner and his wife Holly wearing home-made ‘protective gear’ of bubble wrap and a black garbage bag
Baumgartner (pictured with wife Holly) said he and his family endured ‘mass hysteria’ and the ‘stigma’ of having the coronavirus
Baumgartner said fellow Williamson County residents demanded ‘to know if you are the ”one” where you live, and if you might have somehow infected their child or family’.
He wrote: ‘These past few weeks have certainly been interesting, to say the least.
‘My family has not only had a front row seat to the mass hysteria we are now experiencing as a nation, but we’ve also been part of the storyline.
‘It’s given us a whole new appreciation for those who live under the cloud of stigma every single day of their lives.’
But despite those issues, hordes of other community members have empathized with his family’s ordeal, Baumgartner said.
Supporters have sent the family meals, groceries, cards and books, among other items to help keep them occupied during their time in quarantine, Baumgartner said in his post, which also pictured his wife wearing a black garbage bag.
Chris and Holly Baumgartner (left) and his Facebook post (right) about his experience of being the first in Tennessee to be diagnosed with coronavirus
He added: ‘We’ve had literally hundreds and hundreds of calls, messages, and texts encouraging us, praying for us, and people pausing from their own challenges in life, to walk through this crazy situation with us.
‘Something incredible happens when fear and anxiety are replaced with acts of kindness and compassion.’
Baumgartner wrote on social media that he is still recovering and ofered to house sit for any neighbors over spring break.
Coronavirus cases continue to grow in Tennessee and across and the US with Tennessee’s Department of Health reporting 52 cases as of Monday.
On March 5, Govenor Bill Lee announced that a Williamson County man had tested positive for the virus, making it the first case in the state.
Williamson County now has the second most amount of cases in the state with 18.
Across the US as of Monday, the number of COVID-19 cases topped 4,600 with 86 deaths.