From ‘hoax’ to home isolation: Former COVID-denier tests positive for coronavirus

Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 6:50 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 13, 2020 at 3:58 AM EDT
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JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - With questions about the validity of COVID-19 testing, Darrell McCoy set his mind on the idea that the pandemic is “a hoax.”

“I didn’t want to wear my mask. You know, I didn’t want people tellin’ me I had to wear a mask. So, I refused to do it. I refused to quit shaking hands,” said McCoy. “I was like, ‘You know, I’m not gonna change my everyday life for something that I don’t even know if it’s real.”

He said he thought everything was about politics and he expected to see the narrative shift quickly after the 2020 election. That was until he had a shift of his own.

“I was sitting there eating with the people I was meeting with and I noticed my food. It just didn’t taste right. You know, it’s like it was really bland,” he said.

That loss of taste was quickly met with more symptoms, but McCoy said he was still on the fence about the issues and had a vacation planned the same week. So, he and his family stayed the course to Cincinnati, visiting Kings Island and the Cincinnati Zoo.

“When I was standing in line at Kings Island, they had the sign up and it had all the symptoms of COVID-19,” said McCoy. “Well, I looked down it and I had nine of the 10 symptoms.”

McCoy said he realized he was likely carrying the virus, so he decided to stay in the hotel room for the remainder of the trip before coming home and taking the test.

That test came back positive and he was able to trace the virus back to a Sunday church service. But he stressed the safety precautions taken by the church, adding that it was his fault for not following them.

“I was the one that, you know, was like 90 percent of the people in the mountains here. I refused to wear a mask; I wasn’t gonna change my way of life. I thought that it was all a hoax,” he said. “But I’m telling you guys. This thing is real. And if you think that it can’t touch your family, just wait.”

He said he now hopes to spread awareness to people who believe the way he once did because it is the only way he sees to have an impact on the virus.

“It’s gonna start with bull-headed people like me,” he said. “Right now, kids aren’t gonna be able to go to school. Kids aren’t gonna be able to play sports if we don’t change our way of thinking.”

And, though he spent months denying the issues, he has a new message to share with people who refuse to wear masks.

“You will count your blessings when you start wearing that mask,” he said. “You think it’s hard to breathe in that mask? Try breathing with COVID-19.”

According to McCoy, protecting others has to be the end goal.

“If you go by the good book and we all take care of our neighbor, we would be over this,” he said.

Copyright 2020 WYMT. All rights reserved.

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