A ride-share driver in Florida has backtracked on his stance that coronavirus is a ploy made up by the government, after both he and his wife contracted the virus when he continued to go to work and didn’t wear a mask.
Brian Lee Hitchens previously shared skeptical messages online, including one on Facebook April 2 which read: ‘I’m honoring what our government says to do during this epidemic but I do not fear this virus because I know that my God is bigger than this virus will ever be. Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.’
But by mid-April he revealed that he and his wife Reverend Erin Hitchens had been home sick for a week and by April 19 they were in hospital where she has been on a ventilator for three weeks.
‘This wasn’t some scare tactic that anybody was using. It wasn’t some made-up thing. This was a real virus you gotta take seriously,’ Mr Hitchens told WPTV.
Up until April 2, Brian Lee Hitchens said he didn’t fear coronavirus but in an interview from his hospital bed he has urged people to take it seriously
By April 19 both he and his wife Reverend Erin Hitchens (pictured right) were in hospital with the virus
In one Facebook post he said he felt the coronavirus pandemic was ‘blown out of proportion’
He said in an interview from his hospital bed this week that he wasn’t a strong believer that PPE could do much to protect him from COVID-19.
Discussing images he’d seen in the media, Hitchens – who is a driver for Lyft, Uber and other companied – thought the precautions other people were taking were over-the-top.
He only stopped going to work a few days after feeling sick and says he wasn’t wearing a mask.
‘I’d get up in the morning and pray and trust in God for his protection, and I’d just leave it at that,’ Mr Hitchens admitted.
‘There were all these masks and gloves. I thought it looks like a hysteria.’
But now that his spouse, who was admitted to Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, the day after him is in such a ‘tough’ and ‘sad’ condition, he does not want anyone to ‘go through what I went through’.
He tested negative for COVID-19 at one point but then another test came back positive.
He previously said that he wasn’t scared of contracting the virus because of his faith in God
Hitchens, who drives for Lyft, Uber and other companies, was not wearing a mask and only stopped going to work a few days after feeling sick
Hitchens has not been able to see his wife despite them being two hospital rooms away from each other
Mr Hitchens has partially recovered and was moved out of the ICU at the end of last month but the outlook wasn’t as good for Erin who was still sedated and being fed through a tube.
He said in a May 5 Facebook post that she received a blood transfusion and by May 11 she still was not showing signs of improvement.
‘I thought it was maybe the government trying something, and it was kind of like they threw it out there to kinda distract us,’ Mr Hitchens told WPTV.
In Florida there were over 43,200 coronavirus cases on Sunday morning and more than 1,800 deaths.
Despite his improvement, Hitchens was allowed back on the ICU to be closer to his wife – who he has not been able to seen throughout their hospitalization.
Last week he shared he was ‘sad and frustrated’ that despite them being two rooms apart, he was not allowed to stop by her room briefly for Mother’s Day.
In a Facebook post this week, he said he was feeling ‘a lot better then a few weeks ago’ but he still has COVID-19 ‘and some pneumonia’ in his lungs.
Now the ride-sharing driver is worried about his wife’s health as she remains on a ventilator after three weeks
In Florida there were over 43,200 coronavirus cases on Sunday and more than 1,800 deaths
‘I have come to accept that my wife may pass away and the peace I have about it is that I know without a shadow of a doubt that she will be going home to be with the Lord but I also do believe in miracles and I’m holding on to the chance that she may get healed,’ he said about his wife of eight years.
‘This thing is nothing to be messed with please listen to the authorities and heed the advice of the experts. We don’t have to fear this and by heeding the advice doesn’t mean that you fear it that means you’re showing wisdom during this epidemic time,’ he continued.
‘Looking back I should have wore a mask in the beginning but I didn’t and perhaps I’m paying the price for it now but I know that if it was me that gave it to my wife I know that she forgives me and I know that God forgives me.
‘Whether man forgives me or not that’s out of my control but as long as I have the assurance that God forgives me and my wife forgives me I am good. So just think about what I said and if you have to go out please use wisdom and don’t be foolish like I was so the same so the same thing won’t happen to you like it happened to me and my wife.’