This story has been edited for clarity after another conversation with Justin Wilhite.
RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. (KTXL) — A Rancho Cordova man has gained thousands of followers on Twitter after sharing his experiences with the symptoms of the novel coronavirus.
“It’s a drag having a constant headache, and it hurts when you breathe, and it makes sleeping difficult.”
Justin Wilhite of Rancho Cordova spoke with FOX40 from home Tuesday over FaceTime.
He said his first symptom was a headache on March 4. Later that day, something inside his body just did not feel right.
“And then from then on, it got progressively worse every day,” he explained.
Wilhite said by March 11, his breathing had become labored and painful. He said he visited a hospital on March 13 where doctors treated him for the flu.
“They said, ‘Come back if you feel worse,’” Wilhite said.
Wilhite did get worse. During a trip to the emergency room to a Placer County hospital 12 days after those initial symptoms, he says his doctor diagnosed him with COVID-19. He later clarified to FOX40 that he was never given the test for the virus, but that his doctor said his symptoms were consistent with other cases and had ruled out other causes.
He started posting about the experience on Twitter.
“It was nothing I did selfishly. My wife and I had long conversations about it,” Wilhite explained.
The everyday husband and father of three who had about 50 Twitter followers now has thousands. And many thousand more have responded to and shared his tweets.
“I don’t even know how to keep up with it,” he said. “I hardly knew how to keep up with like 30 people.”
But he said it will be worth it if his experience causes even just one person to take the coronavirus warnings and guidelines seriously.
Wilhite said he does not know how he got sick.
“It’s just out there now, it’s literally just out there,” he said. “I’m just an everyday guy, doing everyday dad stuff. Go to the grocery store, get gas.”
From his perspective, the guidelines coming from elected leaders are about public health, not politics.
“Everybody involved is trying to do the right thing for the people and I’m hoping I’m living proof that I’m just a regular guy going about his day like anybody else and I got the virus. And we self-quarantined and we have been really tamping down our excursions out into the public as best as possible,” Wilhite told FOX40.
“Just heed the warnings. Just heed the warnings.”
Wilhite said his doctor told him the next few days might be difficult, but he expects to fully recover.
He even has an offer from the president of the Oakland A’s to throw out the first pitch at a game.