After five-week battle with COVID-19, Dallas pastor now faces rejection from peers

Some who have overcome COVID-19 now are forced to swallow the bitter pill of being treated differently by some of the people they've known for a very long time.

Treating people differently who are victorious over the virus is an outgrowth of fear of the unknown, one psychologist says. A Dallas pastor who beat the illness is now battling coronavirus consequences.

Bishop Eli Jacobs is back with his wife and new baby.

A few weeks ago, Jacobs had just come home from hospitalization after a five-week fight with COVID-19. Two negative tests show he's now virus-free.

“You got to have two before you can go out or even go back to work,” he said.

Jacobs is free of the virus, but not over the effects of the virus

“Didn't know it was going to cause so much chaos,” he said.


Not on himself, but others.

“I’ve been trying to go out and get a haircut,” he said. “Seems like my barber don’t want to cut my hair no more.”

Outside of family, Jacobs is experiencing rejection.

“After overcoming some of the challenges he's facing, it’s rejection,” said Dareia Jacobs, Eli’s wife. “He's dealing with, ‘Oh! he still might got the COIVD. No!’”

“We're grateful for each and every survivor. We celebrate the fact that they've gone through and come out on the other side,” said Psychologist Dr. Brenda Wall. “But what it does is it untaps fear in our community. There's a lot of fear.”

Fear because of what we don't know about the virus, says Dr. Wall, and where we can't manage fear. We find something or someone to be the object of that fear.

“When we see someone who's been through it, we think maybe they're a threat without accepting responsibility for the fact that the people who are asymptomatic right now may be the greatest threat,” she said.

Wall says those who've had the virus are in control.

“What you get to say is, ‘I’m safe. I know you're worried about it. Let me tell you what it was like Do you have any questions,’” Wall said. “As the vanguard they were at the vanguard of becoming ill and coming out on the other side, and they do have an opportunity to let us know I’m safe. I’m not a threat.”

Jacobs now knows the consequences of coronavirus go beyond the physical to the psychological.

“You can overcome this,” he said. “But it can bother you mentally.”

Dr. Wall says it is important for people who have recovered to talk about the trauma and the loss caused by the illness.

While the virus is changing society, Bishop Jacobs wants you to know he's the same person he was before COVID-19.