‘Blood on his hands’ for virus escape
A professional American football player was repeatedly told he has "blood" on his hands after taking multiple flights while sick with coronavirus.
Dylan Reda flew from Prague to Florida - with stops in the UK and Texas - after feeling too ill to practice for his Czech team last month, The Sun reports.
The former Southern Miss linebacker believed he had the flu, but later tested positive for COVID-19 and now owes more than $20,000 in hospital bills.
"I woke up to 15 to 20 messages of people saying that I've got blood on my hands because I put people's lives in jeopardy," Reda told the Clarion-Ledger.
"A message saying they hoped my entire family got the virus so then I would know it's my fault they got sick."
The 28-year-old Reda, who plays for the Prague Lions, told the newspaper he initially felt sick on March 11.
One symptom was loss of taste and smell, which is now known to be linked with coronavirus.
However, he said that his coach's doctor cleared him to fly.
Reda said he wore an elevation training mask, a medical mask and gloves on the long journey home to his family in Florida four days later.
"I looked like Bane, basically, from the Dark Knight," he said.
"People were looking at me like I was crazy.
"When I got to Dallas, they took my temperature there and I was 97.5 (Fahrenheit). They said, 'You're good.'"
A few days later, he began to cough up blood and had a shortness of breath.
He went to an emergency room at a Florida hospital.
"I was sitting there panicking a little bit because I'm uninsured currently," he said.
"I don't have a job right now. I'm not making any money. I really just came in to see if (they) could swab my nose."
The verbal attacks started soon after when he announced on social media that he had been hospitalised with coronavirus.
"I can understand the backlash," Reda told The Associated Press.
"If I still felt sick that day, I wouldn't have flown home.
"If I had known what was going on, I would have just tried to ride it out there. Everything happened so quickly."
The 6-foot-1, 230-pound athlete said he was hospitalized for two days and told to practice social distancing when he was discharged.
"Take this seriously," he said.
"I feel like a lot of people my age might not feel invincible, but they might not feel they'll be affected by it as much as maybe their grandparents or their parents.
"If you have any symptoms at all, do what you're supposed to do."
Prague Lions head coach and co-owner Zach Harrod said nobody else on the team tested positive, but their season was placed on hold.
Reda said none of his family members have been sick either.
- This story originally appeared on thesun.com and has been republished with permission
Originally published as 'Blood on his hands' for virus escape