Detroit Police Chief Recalls Recovery from COVID-19: ‘I Kept Pushing Back’

Detroit’s defiant top cop, Chief James Craig, refused to surrender to COVID-19 after he was diagnosed positive over three weeks ago.

The police chief was retested on Wednesday, the results were negative, and he is back at work, describing the illness as an “unknown enemy that wants to take your body over and kill you unless you start punching back.” He credits his comeback to exercise, hot tea, vitamins, healthy foods and prayer.

“My personal story is my willingness to keep pushing back,” Craig told the Free Press in an interview Wednesday night, noting his survival skills kicked in during his first week of illness. “My body said, ‘Are you going to sit here and let this enemy take you over? This is not you.’  “

The virus tore through the Detroit department, quarantining hundreds of officers, infecting 170, including a homicide captain and a dispatcher who both died.

He is speaking out to inspire others who are fighting the disease to fight back.

Craig, 63, said he knew he was in a high risk group, and realized he might not make it out alive after being diagnosed on March 27. He fought for his life as a young officer in Los Angeles being ambushed by gangs and riddled with bullets. He decided to fight back against the virus.

“I know what it means to fight for your life,” Craig said. “If you give up your will to survive, you will not survive. That’s a fact.”

The first two days he had no appetite, but by day three he was able to get down hot soup and a protein bar. With weakness and night sweats, his fever reached 101.3.

But he drank plenty of liquids, mainly hot tea and water, and took Vitamin C, Vitamin D, three teaspoons a day of of liquid elderberry, oil of oregano and plant-based immunity boosters, including Congaplex, MediHerb and Andrographis Complex.

At the end of the first week, Craig got on his exercise bike, and started with 10 minutes. Then added 5 more minutes, and then 10 more minutes as the days went on. His doctors and family were concerned, but Craig said he listened to his body and kept on. By the third week, he was up to an hour on the stationary bike, and had added 20 minutes of rowing and weight training.

“I started pushing myself. And the more I pushed, the more it wanted to leave me alone,” Craig said of the virus. “I was trying to fight this thing, but I had to be thoughtful because I got a doctor saying, ‘Don’t overdo it.’ I got a family saying, ‘Don’t overdo it.’ My daughter was saying, ‘I know what you’re trying to do.’ And when I told her about my one hour on the bike recently, she said, ‘You’re out of your mind!’ “

The 5’9″ and 165 pound chief had pedaled over 12 miles and burned 318 calories, and believes being physically fit was the key to his recovery.

See the Detroit Free Press for the rest of his story.