Openly gay Dallas conservative Tony Green thought the COVID-19 pandemic was a ‘scamdemic’ until reality clapped back as he and his entire family fell ill from the coronavirus.
In an essay for the Dallas Voice, Green admits he voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and traveled “deep into the conspiracy theory trap” of the coronavirus health threat.
That was until 14 members of his family tested positive for the virus. One family member died and another is currently on life support.
Green says from the beginning of the COVID-19 health treat, he was totally down for “all the defiant behavior” of Trump’s more radical followers: “I was a hard-ass that stood up for my God-given rights.’”
From the beginning, he bought into the pandemic being a ‘hoax,’ writing, “I believed the mainstream media and the Democrats were using it to create panic, crash the economy and destroy Trump’s chances at re-election.”
And so, the 43-year-old Republican and his partner hosted a family party on Saturday, June 13. No one wore face masks
The next morning, he woke up sick.
By Monday, June 15, his partner also grew ill as well as his parents. His in-laws, who had attended the party, traveled to be present at the birth of their first grandchild. The couple took Green’s father-in-law’s mother and one of his partner’s sisters along.
The father-in-law and the sister became sick that night. Two days, later, his father-in-law’s mother developed symptoms as well as the new daddy and mommy.
Everyone tested positive for the coronavirus except the newborn.
On June 24, ten days after the house party, Green and his father-in-law had to be hospitalized. As the virus attacked Green’s nervous system, hospital staff had to save him from a near-stroke.
“Imagine the sound and vibration of an old-fashioned electric heater going through your whole body. Imagine gasping for air with every step you take. Imagine rubbing Icy Hot all over your head to soothe a painful headache. Imagine your eyes in a bowl of water while you’re still seeing through them. Imagine collapsing and waking up in the ER only to find out COVID-19 attacked your central nervous system, and the doctor had just saved you from a stroke.”
His father-in-law’s mother was admitted to the hospital the next day, and less than a week later, she died from COVID-19. No family members were with her as she passed away even though her son lay in the hospital room next to hers.
On the day of her funeral, July 14, five more family members tested positive for the coronavirus. That evening, his father-in-law was put on a ventilator.
Today, Green is brutally candid about the anguish he bears.
“You cannot imagine the guilt I feel, knowing that I hosted the gathering that led to so much suffering,” writes Green. “You cannot imagine my guilt at having been a denier, carelessly shuffling through this pandemic, making fun of those wearing masks and social distancing. You cannot imagine my guilt at knowing that my actions convinced both our families it was safe when it wasn’t.”
“The coronavirus is very real and extremely contagious,” he says to pandemic deniers. “Before you even know you have it, you’ve passed it along to your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors.”
“Trust me,” he adds. “You do not want this virus. And you do not want your loved ones suffering and dying from this because you are taking a ‘political stand’ or protecting the economy over their lives.”
Green closes by admitting “I am calling myself out first,” and warns “If we continue being more worried about the disruption to our lives than we are about stopping this virus, not one American will be spared. Not one.”
On Monday, Green told NBC News many friends of his remain unconvinced the virus is truly deadly. “I don’t think they’re going to change their opinions unless it bites them in the butt like it did me,” he said.
He says he came forward with his story to help people be more vigilant about wearing masks as the CDC reports increasing evidence that face coverings help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.
On July 2, the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, reversed course issuing an executive order mandating face masks in public in any county with 20 or more cases of the coronavirus.
“Wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Abbott said in a statement announcing his executive order.
At this writing, John Hopkins University – which is tracking the pandemic – reports 149,961 deaths have occurred in the U.S. from COVID-19.