A leader of protests to reopen Maryland says he is ill with COVID-19

"I had to go to the emergency room. I thought I was actually having a stroke, but it turns out I have COVID," Tim Walters said.
Image: ReOpen Maryland
Members of ReOpen Maryland listen to a speaker at the start of a road rally procession calling for the re-opening for the state of Maryland, in Frederick, on May 2, 2020.Tom Brenner / Reuters file

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By Minyvonne Burke

One of the founders of ReOpen Maryland, a movement that pressured that state's governor to end his stay-at-home order, said he is ill with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Tim Walters revealed his diagnosis in a series of Facebook videos starting Tuesday, according to the Capital Gazette. Some of the videos appear to have been deleted.

In a Facebook Live video on Thursday, Walters gave an update on his health and said he had experienced chills the day before and his fever spiked at 103. He eventually had to go to the emergency room.

"I told you guys I wasn't feeling really well. I crashed later in the day, I had to go to the emergency room. I thought I was actually having a stroke but it turns out I have COVID," he said. "Here we are at the end of June and I get it. It really doesn't make sense.

Walters said his wife and son were being tested for the virus. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In another video on Friday, he said he was feeling better and cautioned people to be careful.

"If you think you had it ... don't make that assumption to the point where you're being less prudent about how you're behaving," he said. "The challenge with this, all the symptoms for everybody are completely different."

ReOpen Maryland challenged Gov. Larry Hogan's stay-at-home order, which was lifted in May. Walters helped organize rallies in the state demanding an end to the order.

"We are committed to peaceful, law-abiding advocacy for public health measures that respect Marylanders' civil rights, economic well-being and educational access," a Facebook page for the group reads. "We support immediate, responsible reopening of our state's business, educational and religious institutions."

Hogan shared a news article on his Facebook page about Walter's COVID-19 diagnosis, writing that anyone participating in protests should "continue to take all precautions to reduce the risks of spreading the coronavirus."

"Our health experts are strongly encouraging anyone who attended a demonstration or mass gathering to immediately get tested for coronavirus, and they are also advised to avoid contact with vulnerable populations," the governor wrote.