Man Who Got COVID-19 Describes Near-death Experience: 'Like You Are in Mud. You Can't Hear. You Can See."

A Georgia man who has been in hospital for four months as a result of COVID-19 has revealed details of a terrifying near-death experience.

Rick Hooks contracted the disease in the spring, but his condition deteriorated and he was eventually admitted to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Braselton.

At one point during his illness, Hooks fell into a coma while on a ventilator in intensive care—and this is when he had a near-death experience, he told WSB-TV.

"Like you are in mud. You can't hear. You can see. You can see people floating by you," he said.

Hooks told WSB-TV that during this experience he then raised his hands.

"God grabbed it and said, 'I ain't done with you, yet.'"

Hooks told WSB-TV that the virus almost took his life, causing a number of serious complications during his long battle with the disease.

"It was over. Over. 90 percent dead, 10 percent alive. Coronavirus tore my whole body up," he said.

Hooks is still in hospital and doesn't know when he will be released. Despite the fact his condition has improved since being in a coma, he still has a long road to recovery.

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

The patient said his doctor at the hospital was amazed that he had managed to survive his ordeal.

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

Because COVID-19 only appeared relatively recently, scientists are still learning about how the disease affects people.

The standard view, according to the World Health Organization (WHO,) is that around 80 percent of infections are mild or asymptomatic, while around 14 percent of patients experience severe disease and six percent require intensive care.

According to the WHO, the average time from the onset of symptoms to recovery for those with mild disease is around two weeks, although this figure jumps to three-six weeks for patients with severe or critical disease.

However, several reports have emerged from around the world of COVID-19 patients, like Hooks, who have been hospitalized with the disease for months.

Last week, for example, 35-year-old Michael Saucedo was finally released from a hospital in Pasadena, California, after a four month battle with the virus, KTRK reported. Saucedo was admitted to the hospital on March 27, where he tested positive for COVID-19.

And on Tuesday, KSBY reported that a patient who had been hospitalized with COVID-19 for several months at Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton, California, had also finally been released.

Artist's illustration of a coronavirus. iStock

Hooks said doctors told him he "had" the virus "three times," although it is currently unclear whether or not this was due to reinfections or the fact that tests were picking up false positives.

Other COVID-19 patients have tested positive for the virus again after having seemingly recovered, including an unidentified 68-year-old man in a Chinese non-peer-reviewed study who was diagnosed with COVID-19 three separate times.

"Reinfection can't be ruled out, but it's possible the test is picking up lingering viral material in the cells, even after the virus has been killed," Professor Jamie Triccas, head of infectious diseases and immunology at the University of Sydney, Australia told The Sydney Morning Herald in April, referring to the Chinese study.

In light of his ordeal, Hooks told WSB-TV that he wants people to take the virus more seriously, particularly when it comes to wearing a mask—something he didn't do earlier in the pandemic.

"The ego is big," Hooks said. "I ain't going to get sick. God said, 'Okay. Play with me if you want to.'"

In the United States, the issue of wearing masks has become particularly controversial in the past months, with some people refusing to use them.

"It's the craziest stuff I've ever seen. I know you want to get out the house but please wear your mask, please," Hooks said.