Tinker Talks: A conversation with a COVID surivivor

  • Published
  • By April McDonald
  • 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The Air Force Sustainment Center’s director of Contracting spent 10 days in the hospital battling the coronavirus.

When Anthony Baumann finished his quarantine, he knew he could make a difference by telling his story of survival. He recently sat down with Tinker Installation Commander Col. Paul Filcek on an episode of Tinker Talks to share details of his experience with COVID-19.

Baumann spent the early part of the pandemic teleworking and doing his best to follow all the right protocols to keep him and his co-workers safe. Circumstances in the AFSC required him to return to the office on a full-time basis in June, but he continued to minimize his risk of contracting the virus.

“I think I’m doing everything right, even in my circles,” he said, adding that if he was in close proximity to someone, he would wait two to five days – through symptom periods – to make sure if he was at risk, he didn’t pass the virus along.

“There is no worse feeling than to potentially expose somebody,” he added. “And I experienced that, too.”

In late October, an ice storm hit the metro area and COVID symptoms hit Baumann’s body. The first symptom to show up was a 101.8 degree temperature.

“My first hope because of the weather change was that maybe I had strep,” he said. “I won’t call it COVID denial, but just that they’re all possibilities.”

Baumann went in for a COVID test on a Thursday and got the positive result the following Sunday. He kept working, even while quarantining at home. The Wednesday after he tested positive, Baumann was on the phone with his office staff, when they noticed something wasn’t right.

“We had our conversation at 8 o’clock,” he said. “They got off that phone and said, ‘He’s not making sense. He’s not completing his thoughts, he’s not coherent.’”

That’s when his wingmen jumped into action. He credits that intervention with saving his life.

Throughout his 10-day stay hospital stay, Baumann was put on oxygen, did blood tests and received antibody plasma. They also started him on an FDA-approved treatment and he concurrently received steroids through IV and started using albuterol inhalers to clear his lungs. He also faced the possibility of the small blood clots in his legs migrating up to his heart. That resulted in him being on blood thinners.

“Meanwhile, in all of this, my oxygen needs are going up to six liters,” he said. “They had me at six liters of oxygen per minute and they don’t like that. There were two days my doctor was watching me and said she might have to move me to ICU.”

Thankfully that never happened.

Baumann has been home for about three weeks, but still battles stamina issues and will be on blood thinners for three months to get rid of the tiny blood clots in his lungs. He also sleeps with oxygen machine.

While he was in the hospital, Baumann learned a lot about the coronavirus. He also learned firsthand about the “Oklahoma Standard” through the outpouring of concern he received from across Team Tinker.

“The reach out I got from so many people at Tinker … what a family,” he said. “I don’t have family in Oklahoma. But, yes I do and it’s called these Tinker people I work with.”

To hear the full story, you can watch this episode of Tinker Talks on YouTube at  You can also listen by searching “Tinker Talks” on Apple Podcast or Spotify.