SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – As Hospitals are seeing an increase in serious COVID-19 cases, nearly 65% of people in the Ozarks have chosen not to get vaccinated.
One unvaccinated patient in Springfield says that he did not understand the severity of the virus and brushed off the idea of vaccination.
Charlie Uchtman has just been released from the COVID-19 unit at CoxHealth after a difficult recovery from the virus.
A couple of weeks ago, Uchtman went to his doctor over trouble breathing and was quickly sent to the emergency room and then to the COVID-19 intensive care wing of the hospital.
Once inside, Uchtman quickly discovered the seriousness of his illness.
“I don’t know if it was the next bed or a bed down from me. The hospital workers were there trying to save this person’s life. Your brain goes into what they call a COVID fog and this person was fighting them and trying to do what he could to not accept help.” Uchtman explains.
He continued, “This is the middle of the night and I woke up and this medical person was hollering at this person, ‘You have got to let me help you. If you don’t let me help you, you will be dead in five minutes.’ And that was an eye-opener.”
Uchtman says that those who don’t believe in the seriousness of COVID-19 do not understand what happens when the disease is contracted.
“I thought COVID. It is just a form of pneumonia,” said Uchtman. “It is nothing serious. It is an illness, obviously, but it wasn’t going to be that bad. Well, I was wrong.”
These long-term effects are called “long-haul symptoms” by medical professionals and most people experience them after having COVID-19.
“I am still undergoing some of the effects and, honestly, they cannot even tell me how long this is going to last,” said Uchtman. “In hindsight, I would probably want to redo it. COVID is real. It is not something made up. It is a real deal and anyone who thinks that it is not is not understanding.”
CoxHealth says that the vast majority of people hospitalized for COVID-19 are now those who have not received their vaccinations.