Rep. Ben McAdams: ‘People Here Are Nervous’

Oct 2, 2020, 9:17 PM | Updated: 9:24 pm
Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah. (Photo: James Wooldridge, Deseret News)...
FILE: Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah. (Photo: James Wooldridge, Deseret News)
(Photo: James Wooldridge, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Rep. Ben McAdams caught COVID-19 just as the virus was emerging in March, and it was a struggle for weeks to get better.

The illness slowed his re-election campaign and took a toll on his body.

After the president and first lady tested positive for COVID-19, McAdams spoke Friday about just how dangerous the virus can be.

“This virus doesn’t care if we are a Republican or Democrat,” he said. “We are all Americans, and we are all at risk when it comes to this virus.”

McAdams said how much the president will be able to do his job and campaign depends on the severity of the illness.

When he heard the president and first lady had tested positive for COVID-19, he was worried because of what he went through six months ago.

“My prayers are with the president and the first lady,” McAdams said. “We want them to get through this, to bounce back and get back to their jobs.”

If they get as sick as McAdams did, it can be a slow recovery.

When McAdams first caught COVID-19, the symptoms progressed slowly.

“It felt like a bad cold,” he said. “It was the sickest that I had ever been. But, it didn’t feel like anything very serious.”

After one week, it intensified. He knew he was getting sicker one morning right after he got out of bed.

“I couldn’t make it five steps out of bed before I was lightheaded and just panting, out of breath,” McAdams said. “I felt like I had run a race and was exhausted.”

His doctor told him to get to the emergency room. When he arrived, his blood oxygen level was low.

“I spent a few days in the ICU, and a total of eight days in the hospital struggling to breathe and keep my oxygen levels up,” McAdams said. “It was a scary time. I was very very sick.“

He was never on a ventilator. He said he was still sick when he went home and quarantined for a few more days.

“After that, it took me a few more weeks before I felt back on my game,” he said. “It hit me really hard.”

He’s 45 years old, exercises every day and considers himself healthy. But while he was in the hospital he lost 13 pounds.

“The sickest I’ve ever been, by a long shot,” McAdams said.

He said he felt the effects of the coronavirus for about a month.

“I would say I’m back to 99%,” he said. “I still feel a tightness in my lungs, a little bit of a burning in my lungs.”

McAdams had just left the House floor when KSL spoke with him on a video call.

“People here are nervous,” he said. “People wear masks and when we go onto the house floor to vote, people walk out on the floor and vote and immediately walk out.“

They don’t want to get themselves sick or any of their loved ones at home, he said.

“The question is, is Washington D.C., is Congress a hot spot that just hasn’t been diagnosed right now? So people are worried about that,” McAdams said.

He was in D.C. working with colleagues on a coronavirus relief package this week. But now he’s coming home because no deal was ready Friday.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories


Ashley Moser

Flu, COVID and RSV all trending down for the first time in months, says CDC

Major respiratory illnesses are all trending down for the first time since September, according to the CDC.
7 days ago
FILE PHOTO (Photo by Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)...
Josh Ellis

Utah doctor, others charged with running COVID vaccine scheme, issuing fake records and giving fake shots

A Utah plastic surgeon, his medical corporation and three others have been charged after prosecutors say they issued fake COVID-19 vaccination record cards and injected minors with saline shots.
13 days ago
Dr. Angela Dunn, executive director of Salt Lake County Health Department, left, discusses schoolch...
Michael Houck

Salt Lake County ends its COVID-19 emergency status

After nearly three years, the Salt Lake County Health Department ended its COVID emergency status Tuesday. 
21 days ago
FILE: People line up in their cars as members of the Utah National Guard give COVID-19 swab tests a...
Eliza Pace

Gov. Cox, along with 24 other governors, call on President Biden to end Federal Public Health Emergency

Gov. Spencer Cox signed a letter with 24 other governors calling on President Joe Biden to end the federal public health emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic.
1 month ago
U.S. President Joe Biden welcomes guests to the East Room of the White House on December 14, 2022 i...
ZEKE MILLER, AP White House Correspondent

White House reveals winter COVID-19 plans, more free tests

The Biden administration is again making some free COVID-19 tests available to all U.S. households as it unveils its contingency plans for potential coronavirus surges this winter.
2 months ago
FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a news conference, Feb. 1, 2022, in Miami. Gov. DeSa...
FREIDA FRISARO, Associated Press

DeSantis seeks grand jury investigation of COVID-19 vaccines

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is asking the state’s Supreme Court to convene a grand jury to investigate “any and all wrongdoing” with respect to the COVID-19 vaccines.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Rep. Ben McAdams: ‘People Here Are Nervous’