Rev. John Wilkins says he’ll perform again after battle with COVID-19

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An internationally-known Memphis music artist who almost died from the coronavirus shared his story only with WREG Thursday.

Whether in Memphis or another country, Rev. John Wilkins and his daughters are most at home on stage, playing gospel blues.

They were even supposed to go to Germany last month but the coronavirus got in the way, and not just because of the travel ban.

“My dad had called me on April 4 and told me he wasn’t feeling well. I noticed in his voice it sounded like he wasn’t breathing well,” his daughter Joyce Jones said.

When she got to her father, he had a fever. She rushed him to Baptist DeSoto hospital, where they admitted and diagnosed him with coronavirus. Jones says soon after, they put her dad on a ventilator in the ICU.

“A couple times they told us, ‘We almost lost your dad,'” she said.

Wilkins doesn’t remember much from his five-week hospital stay. He’s told he was mostly unconscious for 15 days.

His daughters checked in a lot on video chat, with the help of his nurses. Slowly he started to turn around.

His family credited the Baptist staff and prayer with his miraculous recovery.

“Have more faith than fear. That’s what brought us through this point,” Jones said. “The day they rolled him out of that hospital saying he was COVID-free. He could come home. That was the shouting spirit.”

Now they’re welcoming him home with signs and T-shirts that say “He Survived It!”

Wilkins is touched, but tears up as he talks about this journey.

“Gave God some praise ’cause, he been good to me,” the reverend said.

In that spirit, he said he will perform again.

Wilkins is also now battling other health problems. He has a blood clot in his leg that requires surgery this week, gets regular dialysis and lost his sense of taste. Wilkins said he did not have any of these issues before getting the coronavirus.

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