A Plea to my Union Brothers and Sisters: COVID-19 Almost Killed Me and I am Still Suffering. So Please, Get Vaccinated!

Desmond with his daughter and his son as he leaves an in-patient rehab center last spring.

Hotel Voice, Summer 2021

By Desmond Joseph, Resorts World NYC

In March 2020, I became sick with the Coronavirus and almost died. I write to my fellow members with the hope that my personal experience can serve as a reminder of the danger the Coronavirus poses, and the urgency of getting vaccinated.

On March 28, 2020, I was taken by ambulance to a hospital with severe COVID-19 symptoms: chest pain, body aches, difficulty breathing, and a fever that would not break. Two days after being admitted, I was placed on a ventilator. I spent the next two and a half weeks unconscious, with the ventilator breathing for me. Things got so bad for me that my doctors advised my wife, three children, and three grandchildren to say their goodbyes. I do not remember a moment of my time there.

By the grace of God, I survived. But my fight with COVID-19 was far from over.

After almost three weeks, I was taken off of the ventilator and released from the hospital. I was moved to a rehabilitation facility where I spent another three weeks in recovery, regaining my strength. I had to learn how to eat, drink, walk and even breathe again after what the Coronavirus did to my body. After leaving rehab, I still needed physical therapy at home for another four months.

Today, over a year later, I still experience lingering symptoms such as memory issues, body aches, joint pain and coughing. I am lucky that I have been able to return to work.

No one should go through what I went through, and with the COVID-19 vaccines now available, no one else has to. The vaccines are your way to protect yourself and your loved ones from this deadly virus. I am happy to report I have now received my second dose of the vaccine at our Queens health center and am fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

My message to my Union brothers and sisters is simple: don’t delay, get your shot.