September 9, 2021

Like many in rural Georgia, Jim Sells was skeptical of the vaccine. Then he got COVID. When he finally went to hospital the first words from the doctor shook him: ‘You’re in really bad shape. I don’t know if we can help you. Do you want us to resuscitate you?’

Source: Georgia Recorder

When Grantville Councilman Jim Sells started feeling sick this summer, he tried to tough it out.

He described himself as a hardcore conservative and a skeptic of masks, vaccines and other COVID-19 precautions. He tried some home remedies he read about online, but nothing helped, so he checked himself into the hospital, not knowing just how close he was to death.

“I’m trying to say as they’re taking off my clothes, ‘What are we doing here?’ And they said, ‘You’re admitted. You’re not leaving.’ And then the doctor comes over and says, ‘You’re in really bad shape. I don’t know if we can help you. Do you want us to resuscitate you?’ And now I’m in shock. I went in there because I’m just not feeling well, and she’s telling me I’m in real bad shape,” he said.

During those first 18-hours of what became a 16-day hospital stay, doctors didn't know whether Sells would live or die. But he responded well to treatment and is home now. “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my friends pounding heaven and the doctors and nurses at Fayette Piedmont. Every day is an extra day for me. I want people to know we can save some lives here and save some hospital stays." So, to that end, Sells is doing his part to educate others and get them vaccinated, an especially acute problem in rural Georgia where vaccination rates are often under 30% of the population.

Sells is especially disdainful of social media that creates so much misinformation and distrust.

Sells said he blames much of the problem on social media, which he said creates an echo chamber by showing people content that will not challenge their beliefs, and for conservatives, the algorithms often select anti-vaccine content. Sells’ own Facebook page, which was once host to mainly religious, pro-police and military and personal posts, is now dominated by calls to the hardcore anti-vaccine crowd to avoid his fate and get the shot.

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