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A coronavirus denier and anti-masker has admitted he was wrong and warned from his hospital bed: "You don't want to end up like me."
Chuck Stacey, who owns an IT firm, struggles to breathe as he delivers his stark message in a harrowing video that he recorded while being treated for Covid-19 – a disease he had dismissed as "a bad flu".
Seriously ill with the virus and now filled with regret, the American man, who has an oxygen tube up his nose, tells the camera: “I didn’t wear a mask. I should’ve. I didn’t.
“I believed this was just the flu and it was all going to go away and it was political. I didn’t think a mask would help.”
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Chuck Stacey, from Florida, now admits he was wrong about the virus
(Image: DWUhlfelderLaw /Twitter)
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As he struggles to breathe, Chuck, from Inlet Beach, Florida, adds: “You don’t want to end up like me. I’m having trouble breathing. I may have to be intubated if I get any worse.”
He didn't take the virus or face masks seriously even though the US has the worst outbreak in the world, with 365,664 deaths and 21.5 million confirmed cases.
He even attacked workers at a local Donut Hole shop for wearing face masks to protect themselves and customers from the disease.
In May, Chuck wrote on Facebook: “I have to say I have had it with the masks that the employees are being forced to wear.
Chuck has urged people to wear a face mask to protect themselves and others
“It’s just another example of the continued overreaction to this situation.
"Please stop so when we come to eat we can enjoy our meal without feeling sorry for the employees.”
This week, in the video recorded from his hospital bed, Chuck urged skeptics to change their beliefs and do what is necessary to protect themselves and others.
He says: “If wearing a mask can reduce your chances of getting this even by five per cent, just wear a mask.
“Do it for your children, your loved ones. Do it for yourself.”
Chuck's friend, Daniel Uhlfelder, shared the video on Twitter.
Referring to US President Donald Trump, who has consistently downplayed the virus and peddled misinformation, Daniel wrote: “My friend didn’t wear a mask because he believed the lies from our leaders. Now, he’s close to being intubated. He asked that I share this.”
Chuck shared additional videos in which he said he wore a face shield instead of a face mask at the advice of his doctor because of his “claustrophobia,” which he described as “debilitating”.
Chuck has received death threats about going public about his battle with the virus
(Image: DWUhlfelderLaw /Twitter)
He explained: “My doctor came up with the idea of a face shield with social distancing and being responsible with hand sanitiser and [minimising] my contact in the field.
"I own an IT company so I can work from home. It’s worked for almost a year."
“Nothing is 100 per cent on this virus and even if I would’ve wore a mask I could’ve still gotten it.
"But the fact of the matter is we have to do everything that we can do to protect ourselves and to protect the people that are really at risk.
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"I just thank God that I haven’t given this to someone and taken a life. I would not be able to handle that.”
Chuck, who said he was on his way towards recovery, also revealed he had received death threats after going public about his battle with coroanvirus.
He said in one video: “I was wrong, can’t be more wrong. But to wish me death? To say I don’t deserve to be treated?
"What’s wrong with you people, we’re supposed to love one another, pray for one another.
"I pray for all y’all. I pray you don’t get it."
Chuck's plight was shown on ITV's Good Morning Britain on Wednesday, with co-host Piers Morgan describing the video as "harrowing".
Piers said it was "disturbing" that Chuck's downplaying of the virus was steered by the likes of Trump, and he blasted Covid deniers, telling them to "shut up".