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Metro Detroit father who documented coronavirus battle on social media has recovered

'I literally said – it couldn’t be me! I’m young!'
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Posted at 5:52 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 18:26:54-04

(WXYZ) — A father from Southfield who posted videos on Facebook documenting his coronavirus battle is now out of the hospital.

As a journeyman millwright, Demetrius McNeely is used to keeping power plants and other facilities up and running. But this 33-year-old was stopped in his tracks by COVID-19.

“I tested positive for coronavirus,” said McNeely in a taped video message posted on March 18th to his Facebook page. At the time he was hospitalized at Royal Oak Beaumont.

“I thought it was just a cough, I thought it was a headache, or chills, or fever, body aches. I tried to muster through it,” said McNeely in the video.

McNeely says he thinks he could have picked up the virus when he attended his 8-year-old daughter’s very crowded track nationals event in Ypsilanti in early March.

“I literally said – it couldn’t be me! I’m young! I’m healthy,” said McNeely during an interview with 7 Action News on Tuesday.

He now regrets trying to work through what he thought was just a cold, but quickly escalated.

“It just took your breath away, you couldn’t breathe – I’m gasping for air,” McNeely said.

McNeely says he alerted all of his co-workers, and then spent 2 ½ days on oxygen in the hospital. He says it was frightening to be quarantined.

“I got nervous about seeing my kids again and wife, and I was like wow – I have to get out of here. I know this is not the way I’m going to end this right now,” McNeely said.

McNeely is now at his home in Southfield and getting better by the day. But he’s still keeping his distance from family members to be extra safe, and he has this message for everyone.

“To Metro Detroit – to everyone: this is serious. Take it serious. Stop being outside, stay home, stay safe, if you don’t have to go out, don’t. If you have to go shopping, make sure you wear your protective gloves or your mask, and protect yourself and protect others and stay safe,” said McNeely.

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