COVID-19 survivor warns Black community of virus’ seriousness

Anthony Walker said the younger generation is also not following social distancing guidelines

AUSTIN, Texas — An Austin man who survived COVID-19 has a message for his community: take this virus seriously because it is killing our own.

“It was a wake-up call for me that changed my life. I look at life totally different now,” said Anthony Walker.

Walker became a changed man ever since he tested positive for COVID-19 in May. It was a discovery he made after going to the doctor for what he thought was just a cold.

Walker said there were no warning signs, he never even had a fever.

“I went to get my test, was on the Friday, on the fourth. He called me and said, ‘Hey, listen, I want to call you and let you know that your test came back positive, but there’s no antidote. My best advice right now is stay home and quarantine. Good luck.’ This guy, my doctor for more than 15 years, when he told me good luck, I knew something was wrong,” Walker said.

The next several days were filled with sleepless nights for Walker.

“It had me coughing. Every time you coughed, you got a headache. You feel like you were getting poked in the chest with needles. You have to breathe through the mouth. You’re trying to get oxygen, you know. So it was a struggle,” he said.

Looking back, Walker said he should have gone to the hospital. Especially since his cousin, who lives in Louisiana, also got COVID-19 at the same time.

His cousin didn’t survive.

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Walker is now raising awareness about the dangers of COVID-19, particularly in the minority community, where the virus hits African Americans and Latinos harder than others. 

He said it bothers him that the younger generation is ignoring safety guidelines.

“You’re scared when you see so many people who have sacrificed so much and the kids and grandkids come bring them the COVID and make them sick, can be the death that day, parents and grandparents,” Walker said.

KVUE spoke with Walker at Givens Park, an area in East Austin that has retained a rich heritage in the Black community. We walked to the other side of the park where, on any given day, several members of that community are here.

Walker was disappointed with what he saw and wasn’t shy about expressing himself.

“Nobody hardly wearing masks, they ain’t social distancing,” Walker said.

Walker said his passion comes from a caring heart for his community. As head of the East Austin Coalition, he’s been to Givens Park before, handing out masks and hand sanitizer.

It’s a message that needs to be heard more than ever.

Walker said he plans to donate his plasma to help others who contract COVID-19.

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