A fitness coach who has gone viral after photos showed the devastating impact Covid-19 had on his body is now urging people to get vaccinated.
However, the former fitness guru has now revealed that he wishes he had gotten vaccinated, after he caught Covid again in June 2021 and spent the last two months in the hospital.
According to Phillip’s wife Maria, who spoke to the outlet, she and her husband had initially thought he had a sinus infection when he became sick the second time.
When the 56-year-old’s health worsened, Maria rushed him to the emergency room at St Anthony Hospital in Lakewood, where he was intubated for 47 days and did not wake up for 18 days, 9News reports.
While Phillips is now preparing to be discharged from the hospital, photos shared by 9News reporter Kelly Reinke show the toll the virus took on his body, with the former fitness coach now requiring oxygen and a wheelchair.
In a before photo, Phillips can be seen shirtless and showing off his abdominal muscles, while the after photo sees him sitting up in a hospital bed while attached to various wires.
“Bill was so strong and independent and worked out and did all these things,” his wife told the outlet. “Now he’s in a wheelchair. He can’t walk. He can’t exercise. He’s on oxygen.”
Phillips also lost 70lbs during his stay in the hospital, with the Covid survivor now revealing that neither his strength nor physical fitness protected him from the virus, and that he wishes he had done things differently.
“It didn’t help that I could bench press 300lbs or run a mile straight up a hill,” he told the outlet. “I’ve been in a lot of pain and I have lost a lot, but I have gained a new outlook on life that is for sure.”
He and his wife have since begun urging people to get the vaccination, with Phillips explaining that his mistake in not getting vaccinated “came that close to costing me my life”.
In a post shared to his Facebook on 9 August, showing the fitness expert in his hospital bed, Phillips expressed his joy at being alive while acknowledging the importance of the vaccine.
“After almost 30 days on a ventilator, being put into a medically induced coma, and 45 days with only a feeding tube, I’m so dang confused, excited, out-of-my-mind happy, ecstatic… I’m so pumped to have dinner I don’t even know what to have,” Phillips wrote. “This is one way to lose 70lbs in two months. I SURVIVED.
“PS, yes you better get a Covid vaccine shot if you have any realistic chance of not having to lose your life. Damn straight, sure as hell not kidding, we have to get this virus off the planet. I lost 70lbs to this monster and I’m lucky I had the muscle and energy and a fighting partner in Maria to survive.”
Maria, who said she previously thought having the virus meant she was vaccinated, told the outlet that she received the vaccine while her husband was in the ICU, while Phillips told the outlet that he plans to get the vaccine on his birthday in September.
The Independent has contacted Phillips for comment.