Rep. David Byrd, R-Waynesboro

Rep. David Byrd, R-Waynesboro, leaves a special session of the House of Representatives before it adjourns Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. The expulsion of Byrd, who's accused of sexual misconduct by three women nearly 30 years ago, was discussed during the session. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - After 55 days of being on a ventilator, and months of battling COVID-19, Tennessee State Representative was able to swear into his official role after nearly escaping death from COVID-19.

The Republican representative from Waynesboro penned an open letter to the public about his brush with death, including newly found insights on the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I have never been against taking the Covid-19 vaccine, but I understand the concerns of those who are hesitant. To them, I would say COVID is real and it is very dangerous."

Previously believing that COVID was only a threat to those considered high-risk, Rep. Bryd was diagnosed the day before Thanksgiving and was alarmed at the rate his health deteriorated to the brink of death.

"Covid took over my lungs with lightning speed," Rep. Byrd said. "I developed pneumonia. I got sicker and sicker, and more and more anxious. Every breath was pure agony."

Rep. Byrd added in his statements that he encourages others to act before it's too late. "I hope that by sharing my experience it helps others to act against an enemy that knows no skin color, economic status or political affiliation."

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