This 39-year-old Army veteran says he didn't take the virus seriously at the beginning of the pandemic, then, his family began getting sick.

Greg Gates is an El Paso resident who reached out to me after his family's ordeal dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, there has been a serious outbreak of "pandemic fatigue" not only here in El Paso but around the nation.

People are dismissing health officials' warnings and traveling to visit family during the most severe outbreak of COVID-19 cases our nation has seen. The flippant nature of some in our community is why Gates reached out to various news outlets, wanting to share his story in the hopes that it would change some people's perspective on the virus, and hopefully, their behavior.

On Monday, November 2nd Greg noticed his legs were cramping and he became overwhelmed with "dizziness, fatigue, and a minor headache." Being cautious, he decided to go and get tested for COVID-19 immediately.

Those test results came back positive for the virus.

His symptoms worsened later in the week, with his fever ranging from 101 to 103 degrees for five days straight. Greg was exhausted, confused, and couldn't taste or smell, a common but peculiar sign of the virus. On the third day after his diagnosis, Greg developed a "massive, lumpy bruise on (his) inner thigh." After rushing to the hospital, Greg found out it was a blood clot, a frightening thing for anyone to find out they have.

Blood clots can lead to heart attacks, strokes, or even death if not properly monitored or treated. Thankfully for Greg, his blood clot was minor and didn't lead to more serious health issues for him.

Sadly, the virus wasn't done with his family yet.

After his positive diagnosis, his wife began to show flu-like symptoms, along with his 11-year-old stepson. The rest of his family decided to get tested, and all tested positive for the virus. His two youngest sons were both asymptomatic.

His family recovered from the virus, but sadly another member of his family who tested positive did not. His wife's 66-year-old father tested positive for the virus and tragically passed away a few days ago.

Greg Gates is now sharing his story with the public, hoping they will learn from his family's story. He says he wants people to know what he's now dealing with, the long-term COVID-19 effects he will be dealing with possibly for the rest of his life.

"It's been about a month since I first tested positive. My mental state hasn't fully recovered. My memory has progressively gotten worse. I can't remember basic things. like the names of long time acquaintances and friends."
He also has a warning for people who don't want to take this virus seriously. Letting people know they don't want to regret not taking preventative action early.
"If you take this virus lightly, and someone in your family gets sick, know that saying you're sorry will be too little, too late. I write this in memory of my father in law, and of all those we've lost to this virus. Please be responsible. You never know if your mother, your father, your grandma, your grandpa, or you could be the next one."

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