ODU assistant basketball coach who recovered from COVID-19 calls vaccination rate extremely disappointing

COVID-19 Vaccine

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — 16 months into the pandemic, and the infection numbers are moving in the wrong direction.

49% of the nation is fully vaccinated; in Virginia, just under 54% of the population is fully vaccinated. Virtually all current coronavirus patients have not been vaccinated and most have the highly transmissible Delta variant.

Old Dominion University assistant basketball coach Bryant Stith has reviewed the numbers.

“This is extremely disappointing especially with all that our country experienced over the last year,” said Stith.

In 2020, the entire Stith family caught covid-19 during a mothers day weekend visit to grandmothers in Brunswick Country, Virginia.

(Photo courtesy: Stith family)

Mom and the children had mild symptoms but the former NBA player was weak with congestion and shortness of breath.

“At some point in time, [during the illness] I got to a point where I was so weak and my kids came in. My daughter started crying at my bedside and that’s when I realized I had to go out and seek medical attention,” said Stith.

At that point in the pandemic, the medical community was still trying to identify the most effective treatment protocols for the novel coronavirus.

With a doctor-prescribed inhaler and rest, Stith recovered with no lingering effects of the virus that has disproportionately sicked and killed minorities in America. Stith says his pre-covid health contributed to his full recovery.

“I was sick for about three weeks and thank God I was in good health. I wasn’t in great health like I was when I was a professional basketball player, but I was in good enough shape to feel good about where I was health-wise. Still, I suffered mightily from the coronavirus,” said Stith.

As the assistant coach prepares for another season and the school year, he has concerns for the thousands who will report to the campus in just a matter of days.

It takes at least two weeks for vaccines to take full effect and classes begin August 28. ODU along with many other public universities has updated its student immunization requirements to include COVID-19.

Students will be required to be fully vaccinated before arriving on campus this fall and confirm proof of vaccination by August 1, unless claiming an exemption, according to the university website. The university is also recommending staff and faculty get the vaccine and show proof before August 1, 2021.

(WAVY photo/Regina Mobley)

The Monarchs are wrapping up recruitment as summer training continues and practice starts in September. Assistant Coach Stith says the team is looking forward to an exciting and safe 2021-2022 season.

Here’s the assistant coach’s game plan:

“Make sure that you follow the guidelines of the CDC, the state of Virginia, your local governments and here Old Dominion University because they have the statistics to [ show the vaccine] is very, very effective and it’s your best chance of not contracting the virus,” added coach Stith.

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