The epidemiologist revealed last week that he tested positive for COVID-19, and said he will be "back as soon as my body permits"

By Benjamin VanHoose
May 18, 2020 09:33 AM
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Dr. Joseph Fair
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Dr. Joseph Fair, a prominent virologist and NBC News contributor, is on the mend after testing positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

On Sunday, Fair, 42, announced on Twitter that he's being discharged from the hospital following a nearly one-week stay battling the respiratory virus. He thanked his colleagues and followers for their support during the "hard times."

"After 6 days, I’m being released with O2," he wrote. "I cannot thank my caregivers & the @NBCNews @MSNBC family enough. I also thank you all for they prayers and messages, even by fax. They lifted me up in hard times. Home to convalesce, but back as soon as my body permits."

Fair continued on to thank all frontline workers and said, "Thank your HCWs and first responders, grocery checkers, janitors, teachers, truckers, pharmacists & everyone else keeping us going. I salut [sic] you all."

In his Twitter thread, Fair also addressed the "vitriolic" people who are protesting stay-at-home orders, writing that they shouldn't hate those "wanting to save lives."

"To the vitriolic: I pray for you to find peace & happiness. Life is too short to be so angry," he said. "Don’t hate ppl for wanting to save lives. Coming from a poor family, I am not against reopening. I want us to do it as safely as possible. Let’s work to find a middle/safe ground."

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Fair — who had previously spent years working in Africa studying deadly viruses like Ebola — shared the news of his coronavirus infection on Wednesday.

"My friends wondering where I’ve been: I came down with #COVID19 & am hospitalized," he wrote at the time, sharing a photo from his hospital bed. "I’m on the other end of it, but not out of the woods yet."

He then urged the public to continue to follow social distancing guidelines, adding that he used as many safeguards as he could to protect himself from COVID-19, but still contracted the virus.

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"Please continue to social distance," he concluded his tweet. "I used max precautions, but still managed to contract it. Back as soon as I’m able, friends. #StaySafe."

Speaking on Nightly News with Lester Holt on Wednesday evening, Fair said that while he has been as careful as possible, exposure can be inevitable.

"Occasionally you're making mistakes, even people like me that do this for a living," he said. "But I can't overtly remember one if I did make it."

Fair also said that he likely contracted the contagious respiratory disease during a recent flight to New Orleans, Louisiana — which has been one of the hotspots of COVID-19 in the United States.

"My flights were packed," he explained. "I had a mask on, gloves on, wipes routine, but you know obviously you could still get it through your eyes."

The virus spreads "through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks," according to the Centers for Disease Control.

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