Images that were being widely shared on social media on Tuesday depict the devastating toll of COVID-19 on a Colorado fitness trainer who declined to be vaccinated.
Kelly Reinke, a reporter with Denver's NBC affiliate, posted the before-and-after images on Twitter, writing: "Left: Fitness coach Bill Phillips pre-covid. Right: Bill, 70 pounds lighter, barely surviving COVID-19 after deciding not to get the vaccine. He's getting discharged from St. Anthony Hospital on Wednesday with a new outlook on life and the shot."
Left: Fitness coach Bill Phillips pre-covid Right: Bill, 70 pounds lighter, barely surviving COVID-19 after decidi… https://t.co/ViobrXiq5T— Kelly Reinke (@Kelly Reinke) 1629775430.0
Phillips' wife, Maria Phillips, documented his COVID journey in photographs. She was overcome by tears as she looked at some of her photos and told the station about her experience of "having to see Bill go from this person, who was so strong and full of life, to this person who can barely stand up."
Bill Phillips opted not to get vaccinated because he previously contracted the virus in early 2020 — and tests showed he had developed antibodies. "I made a mistake ... and it came that close to costing me my life," he said, still struggling to speak and with oxygen tubes in his nose.
After contracting COVID again this June, Phillips spent 47 days on a ventilator and didn't wake up for 18 days after that.
"Bill was so strong and independent and worked out and did all these things," Maria Phillips said. "Now he's in a wheel chair. He can't walk. He can't exercise. He's on oxygen."
Her husband added: "It didn't help that I could bench press 300 pounds or run a mile straight up a hill. I've been in a lot of pain and I have lost a lot, but I have gained a new outlook on life that is for sure."
His new outlook includes encouraging others to get vaccinated.
"If Bill knew everything, the trauma, the pain, that I was going to have to go through every day for the last two months, I think he would have gotten vaccinated if he had known how much pain it was going to cause," Maria Phillips said.
"I did that to you, and I apologize," Bill Phillips responded.
"Getting so so sick like this is so preventable," Maria Phillips said. "Most people who are vaccinated are not going to end up in this situation."
"Get the shot. Get the vaccine. Get on with your life. Don't take chances," Bill Phillips added, before comforting his wife as she broke down in tears again by saying: "I'm here. We made it."
Maria Phillips got vaccinated while her husband was in the ICU, and Bill plans to get vaccinated on his birthday in September.
Watch the report below.
Once a fitness coach, man contracted COVID twice urges people to get vaccinated www.youtube.com