Man recovering in hospital after getting COVID-19 three times

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — A man who said he’s had COVID-19 three times and has been hospitalized for four months is warning people to take the virus seriously.

Rick Hooks is a friend of Channel 2′s Tom Jones. Hooks told him he thought the virus had taken his last breath.

“It was over Tom. Over. 90% dead, 10% alive,” he said from his hospital bed at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center. “Coronavirus tore my whole body up.”

Hooks was in a coma in the intensive care unit on a ventilator. That's where he says he had a near death, dark experience.

"Like you are in mud. You can't hear. You can see. You can see people floating by you," he recounted. He says that's when he put his hands up. "God grabbed it and said, 'I ain't done with you, yet.'"

Jones met Hooks in early March at a restaurant. Weeks later Hooks got sick and was admitted into the hospital.

Hooks said doctors told him he and COVID-19 were in a fierce battle for his life.

"He told me I had it three times," Hooks said.

Hooks has been in the hospital the last four months and said the virus has taken a toll on his body.

"Blood clots on my left-hand side. Lungs compromised. The extremities. You got to learn how to walk again," he explained.

His doctor said he never gave up.

"He said I was a miracle. You look at my chart, people don't make it back where I came from," Hooks said in amazement.

Hooks wants people to take this virus seriously and wear a mask. He admits he didn’t at first.

“The ego is big,” Hooks said. “I ain’t going to get sick. God said, ‘Okay. Play with me if you want to.’”

Hooks has no idea when he is getting out of the hospital.

He's seen people fighting over whether they should or shouldn't wear masks.

He said you don’t want to end up like him.