Arkansas woman was against mask mandate until coronavirus nearly took her life

“I’m on the city council, we were going to be voting on mandatory masks and I was against it. I was like, ‘why should they be able to tell me what to do?”

OSCEOLA, Ark. — Osceola native Sandra Brand said it’s because she’s two weeks into battling COVID-19 in a Northeast Arkansas hospital that she’s changed her mind, after one being vocally against a mask mandate in the state.

“When I got on that ICU unit, I knew I was going to die, and I knew I was going to do it alone,” said Brand.

Brand shared her fight against the virus with THV11 from her hospital room Thursday.

“This is my fifteenth day,” Brand said.

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Brand spent several days in the NEA Baptist Hospital ICU alone.

“It’s scary,” said Brand. “You didn’t have anyone there to hold your hand.”  

It was there she could hardly breathe, had a high fever, chills, and severe body aches.

At one point, doctors gave Brand a plasma transfusion from another coronavirus survivor to help her gain antibodies to make her feel better.

Brand has now been moved onto the hospital’s COVID-19 Unit.

She said another chance at life didn’t look promising until she agreed to allow doctors to use the trial drug Remdesivir with hopes for a quicker recovery.

“I can breathe for the first time in over two weeks,” said Brand.

Now that she can talk again, Brand is urging people to do the right thing during this pandemic.

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“I’m on the city council in Osceola, we were going to be voting on mandatory masks and I was against it. I was like, ‘why should they be able to tell me what to do?” said Brand.

Bland considered herself selfish and said now, she has changed her mind about masks.

“If you can stop somebody from coming in this room and feeling the kind of pain and fear that I have felt, why would you want to be that selfish?” said Brand.

Brand is finally starting to recover. She is awaiting results for a negative COVID-19 test before she can head back home.