Tennessee man with coronavirus describes life as ‘patient zero’

A Tennessee father who announced he was the state’s first coronavirus case described in a lengthy Facebook post what it was like to be “patient zero.”

“These past few weeks have certainly been interesting, to say the least,” Chris Baumgartner began the note, which he shared Sunday.

“My family has not only had a front row seat to the mass hysteria we are now experiencing as a nation, but we’ve also been part of the storyline.”

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Baumgartner characterized his physical symptoms as “mild,” but said the mental challenges faced by him and his family were more complex.

The 44-year-old, who continues to recover, described having to deal with an “irrational public” who demanded “to know if you are the ‘one,’ where you live, and if you might have somehow infected their child or family.”

“Mentally, our experience has been all over the board,” he said.

But despite those issues, hordes of other community members have empathized with his family’s ordeal.

“We’ve had literally hundreds and hundreds of calls, messages and texts encouraging us, praying for us, and people pausing from their own challenges in life, to walk through this crazy situation with us,” Baumgartner wrote.

Supporters have sent the family meals, groceries, get-well cards and books, among other items to help keep them occupied during their time in quarantine, according to Baumgartner.

Baumgartner added: “Something incredible happens when fear and anxiety are replaced with acts of kindness and compassion …”

As Baumgartner recovers, coronavirus cases continue to grow in Tennessee and across and the U.S.

Tennessee’s Department of Health reported 52 cases as of Monday. Williamson County, where Baumgartner lives, has the second-most cases in the state, at 18.

Nationally, by late Monday, the number of coronavirus cases neared 4,300.