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Man who survived COVID-19: 'Please, please just wear a mask'

Posted at 7:32 PM, Jul 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-08 19:32:52-04

KOKOMO — If you still don't believe you should wear a face mask, James Kemp would like to try to convince you otherwise.

The Kokomo man just beat COVID-19 in what was the fight of his life.

"Please, please just wear a mask. It's a simple thing," Kemp said. "If its uncomfortable, just deal with it."

Kemp isn't kidding around about it because he knows firsthand just how serious the coronavirus is.

"Everyone needs to wear a mask. They need to make sure they are social distancing six feet apart because this can hit anyone and if they are not wearing a mask they are putting themselves and others at risk," Kemp said. "Wear a mask. Wash your hands. COVID is on the rise again and we don't know if I can get it again and truthfully I don't know if I could survive another bout of it."

Kemp was diagnosed with COVID-19 in April.

HOW YOU CAN HELP | Fundraiser to help James Kemp

"I heard it could react quickly and I was surprised when the diagnosis came back that I was positive," Kemp said.

The virus hit him hard — so hard he wasn't sure he'd make it.

"The doctors had given up and said basically it was in God's hands," Kemp said.

Going home on Wednesday was special because he wasn't sure this day would happen.

"Three months at St. Vincent Kokomo, St. Vincent Seton then finally RHI for intensive rehab," Kemp said.

Kemp spent a lot of time in ICU on a ventilator and now even though he's back home, he can't go back to work.

"I'm very unsteady on my feet," Kemp said. "I'm on oxygen still. My lungs have been diminished."

Kemp now relies on a walker so he had to convert a downstairs room into his bedroom just to be comfortable. He urges people don't take his story lightly, learn from it and just mask up.