Man recovering from monkeypox says virus is "way worse" than COVID

Monkeypox patient offers advice for others who could be exposed

NEW YORK -- A man who has monkeypox is sharing what it's like to recover from the virus.

CBS2's Lisa Rozner spoke to Matt Ford, who is still in isolation.

"I've had COVID twice. This was way worse," he said.

Ford says he's finally feeling better two weeks after noticing pimple-like marks the ended up being monkeypox lesions.

A few days later, he says he developed intense flu-like symptoms, but as those went away, he says, "More and more lesions were appearing ... And by far the worst part was the pain. I mean, to the point that I had to be prescribed narcotic painkillers just to be able to go to sleep."

He says it lasted up to 10 days and there were more than 25 lesions.

RELATED STORY: Monkeypox cases in New York City rise to 62 as city waits for vaccine shipment

Ford, who splits time between Chelsea in Manhattan and California, is isolating in Los Angeles.

The CDC on Thursday reported 396 cases of monkeypox in the United States. The most are in New York and California. New York is reporting 78 cases, and California is reporting 89.

Ford tried getting medication for monkeypox but says red tape got in the way.

"It's cleared for smallpox but not specifically for monkeypox, so I have a lot of friends who tried to get it and were denied, myself included," Ford said.

There is a vaccine for monkeypox. Last week in New York, appointments filled up fast, but Thursday, Gov. Kathy Hochul said more than 8,000 new doses are on the way here.

RELATED STORY: Second day of long lines for monkeypox vaccine at Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic

It's welcome news for Dr. Christina Zhang, of MiDoctor in Hell's Kitchen. The clinic saw its first monkeypox case Saturday -- a 42-year-old man with a suspicious rash who later tested positive.

"If you suspect that you may have contact with people who had monkeypox or who may have suspicious rash, don't be afraid. You need to call your doctor," Zhang said.

"Try to be aware of any potential stigma. Remember that this is not a quote 'gay disease.' And if you think you've been exposed or if you do get it, try to confront or mitigate any shame you might feel. You've done nothing wrong, and remember that this is a temporary condition. You will be on the other side of it," Ford said.

Ford says doctors are ordering him to isolate until his lesions are gone, which can take as long as four weeks.

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