A Hawaii man who cofounded a group opposed to vaccine mandates has now quit the organization after he spent several days in the hospital sick with COVID-19.
Hawaii News Now reports that Chris Wikoff last year founded the Aloha Freedom Coalition to oppose public health restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, which he viewed as damaging to businesses and society.
Earlier this month, however, he and his wife both tested positive for COVID-19 and he grew very ill before going to the hospital for treatment.
While he survived his encounter with the virus, he now says he realizes that he's been misled by conspiracy theorists who have downplayed the deadly disease.
"We were told the COVID virus was not that deadly," he tells Hawaii News Now. "It was nothing more than a little flu. I can tell you it's more than a little flu."
Even though being treated with Remdesivir made his symptoms less acute, he still says that his experience with the virus was terrifying.
"I was in a bed. I can't move, I can't breathe," he says. "I was afraid I was going to die."
However, the Aloha Freedom Coalition says it has not been swayed by its cofounder's experience.
"We encourage our supporters to do their own research and make their own choices," the organization tells Hawaii News Now. "The Aloha Freedom Coalition was created with civil rights in mind. We will continue to fight against blanket mandates and for an individual's right to choose, especially when it comes to one's health."