“You look at it, it’s an ugly virus. You look at it, and you bounce. And you think I don’t want to be near that,” Wesley Wallace tells us.
HOUSTON, Texas — There are now 51 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the Houston area with 183 cases across the state, according to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.
For the people behind the statistics, the virus is causing misery and loneliness.
Being outdoors hurts. Because my face doesn’t touch anything. It’s not like sleeping on a pillow, ‘Oh, that hurts.’ “Being outdoors is painful,” Wesley Wallace said.
Wallace says that just waking up is painful.
“You see, from the moment I started it has progressed and things have gotten worse,” Wallace said.
It’s right there on his face – what he thought at first – it was just a pimple that quickly turned into monkey pox. He has eight different lesions on his chin, and even one in his mouth.
“Every sip, every bite, I’m just like ‘Oh I can’t, I can’t. Wallace said.
It is spreading.
“Now random little lesions are starting to appear on my body. So you can see the one in my hand. There’s one on my wrist,” Wallace said.
Wallace believes he contracted the virus at a bar on the Fourth of July over the weekend.
“I would say I might have been kissing someone who had it that he didn’t know, just based on where the initial lesions appeared,” Wallace said.
But he says access to the vaccine has been so scarce, and his friends are leaving the state to get it.
“There are a large population at high risk who are just craving a vaccine, not having access to it,” Wallace said. “I have friends who already buy airline tickets, travel to other cities just to get vaccinated and then go home.”
Along with the pain and symptoms, he says, comes isolation.
“You look at it, it’s an ugly virus. You look at it, and you bounce. And you think I don’t want to be near that. I knew the stigma that might come with it, but I also knew a lot of people had that stigma,” Wallace said.
“If you hear from a friend or loved one who has this…just tell them they’re not pariahs, they’re not dirty. And they’re going to be okay, it’s not fatal. It’s very temporary, and it’s scary right now,” Wallace said.
Wallace thinks he has another week or so before it’s finally safe to be around people again, bringing his total time in quarantine to about a month.
Watch: More stories about monkeypox