Lincolnville fire chief Les Kaiser doesn’t believe masks are as effective against COVID-19 as is held out — even after being hospitalized with the virus.
Kaiser, who spent a large part of 2020 fighting wildfires in other states, said firefighters were spread out even when team leaders consulted in tents.
“If someone came in, would I wear a mask? Maybe, maybe not,” Kaiser said.
He questions the effectiveness of cloth masks.
“Wearing that mask prevents spittle droplets. Does it prevent the virus passing out of your mask into my mask? Not necessarily,” he said. “If it’s something that’s supposedly that bad, then why are they not pushing for everyone to wear N95 masks?”
Kaiser started feeling sick on Christmas Eve.
“I had fever, chills, and body aches,” he said.
His temperature ran between 100.3 and 102.6 degrees. He treated the fever and chills at home for a few days.
“I was treating the fever, and then I noticed I was starting to have trouble breathing,” Kaiser said.
He saw his physician to be tested for COVID. As he was screened, they kept asking about other potential COVID symptoms he might have had.
“I asked, ‘What part of nothing else do you not understand?’ ” he said.
His COVID test was positive. He was transferred to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, where he was kept on a dedicated COVID floor and given oxygen for a week. The oxygen flow was started at eight liters an hour.
“I was determined I was not going to be in the intensive care unit,” Kaiser said.
Over five days, he was weaned down to 1.5 liters oxygen per hour.
A nurse encouraged him to sit in a recliner instead of a raised bed because the upright position allowed his lungs to expand more.
Kaiser gives credit to people who knew he was hospitalized and prayed for him.
“There were a lot of people scared for me,” he said.
Kaiser continues to fight fatigue and use oxygen at night after returning home.
He thinks he got COVID working part-time at Walmart.
He’s not sure whether he will get a vaccine after the 90 days COVID patients are advised to wait.
“They don’t know how long the vaccination lasts,” he said. “I’m not comfortable with people developing a vaccine that quick.”