Jacksonville COVID-19 survivor shares story to get others to take illness seriously

Jacksonville COVID-19 survivor shares story to get others to take illness seriously

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Jacksonville man who survived COVID-19 and other complications said he wishes he had been more careful.

Mike Brandt, 47, said he spent three weeks at Baptist Health hospitals, and at times, he wasn’t sure if he would survive.

Content Continues Below

“The moment that I started having chest pains and they had to call life flight to the moment I left I was worried I would not make it,” Brandt said.

Brandt said he suffered a heart attack while in the hospital and had two stents put into safe his life.

Brandt said he was exposed to the coronavirus after trivia night with friends at a local business on June 11.

He said six of his 12 friends tested positive for COVID-19 within a week.

“I definitely regret not wearing a mask now,” Brandt said.

Brandt said he went to the hospital on June 22 because he wasn’t feeling better on his own.

He said doctors conducted an X-Ray and found viral pneumonia in his lungs.

He said he started to feel better physically, but his condition worsened drastically on June 26 when he started having chest pains, which turned out to be a heart attack.

Brandt was taken by helicopter to downtown Baptist where he had two stents put in immediately.

“No one wants to stare death in the eye, right? That’s something I was real close to doing,” Brandt said.

He was finally released from the hospital last week.

While Brandt is on the mend now, he said the fight continues.

Brandt said he still has pneumonia in his lungs, he can’t walk around the block without losing his breath, and he lost 35 pounds of muscle mass.

He said he’s confident his lung capacity will return to normal and he’s already seen improvements since he left the hospital.

As for his heart, he said he’s seeing a cardiologist this Thursday and that it’s too early to tell if he’ll have lifelong complications.

Looking back, Brandt said he was too comfortable and underestimated the coronavirus. “For that reason, I have to own it. I have to own my mistake. I’m going to be fighting this for months to come and getting myself back in good health.”

He took to Facebook to share his terrifying experience in hopes it could save lives.

His post has been shared more than 1,900 times. “I posted that history about what’s going on with me simply because I wanted to people to take it serious,” Brandt said. In his social media post, he encourages people to wear masks and wrote, “a simple mask can save lives.”