Memphis man feels ‘blessed’ to be survivor as African Americans make up nearly 70% of local cases

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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Most of the people testing positive for coronavirus in Shelby County are African American, as health department numbers show they make up more than 68% of cases.

But for weeks, many people were in denial the virus did not affect black people. Chris Little knows otherwise firsthand, and he’s thankful his story is one of survival.

“We hear about all of the deaths, but what we don’t hear about is how many people actually survive the disease,” Little said.

Chris Little is now a COVID-19 survivor.

“The numbers have shown that black people are at the highest peak of the coronavirus,” he said. “People who have tested positive for it, and people who have died from it.”

A fever of 104 degrees sent him to the minor med on March 30, but it would be days before he was able to get tested and have the results.

“I felt tired,” he said. “I felt very tired of being sick. I was tired of fighting the virus. I can remember I called upon my mother, explaining to her this is a lot to take on, especially when you’re doing it by yourself.”

The single 34-year-old made two trips to the hospital in less than two weeks. Once, he was nauseated and could barely walk. The second time he had shortness of breath and was hyperventilating.

“First, I called my primary doctor, and we did video chat,” he said. “She said, ‘Hello,’ and then her next words were, ‘Hurry up and get to the emergency room.'”

Little, a banker and music worship leader at his church, said isolation was the hardest part, but he quickly found out he had a whole community behind him.

“My church family was behind me,” Little said. “My biological family was behind me. Friends and even people that I didn’t know where checking on me, sending me text messages, phone calls. Several days, things just arrived at my porch. Food arrived at my porch.”

It was day 12 into his diagnosis before he started to feel better. He’s thankful for his recovery when he hears about the other patients who did not survive.

“I consider myself blessed,” Little said. “I think God has a plan for me, and his plan did not include me dying from coronavirus, so I’m appreciative. I’m appreciative that I can go on. I’m appreciative to be here to say you can survive coronavirus.”

With the focus now being on removing stay at home orders, Little admitted he’s leery about stepping outside his home and will likely live by the six-feet rule for awhile.

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