Annihilator’s Jeff Waters No Longer Thinks Long COVID Is ‘Bullsh*t’

Annihilator guitarist and vocalist Jeff Waters recently opened up about his arduous and lengthy experience battling COVID-19 early in the pandemic.

In doing so, the 55-year-old thrash metal veteran underscored the severity of the symptoms he had and acknowledged the reality of long COVID, saying he no longer thinks the term for describing post-COVID conditions is a politically-driven lie as he once did.

Waters went over his recovery and touched on many more topics during a Monday (Dec. 27) video interview with the podcast Bringin' It Backwards. The musician appeared on the program ahead of the February 2022 release of Annihilator's Metal II, a re-recorded version of the band's 2007 album Metal that features drummer Dave Lombardo (Misfits, Suicidal Tendencies, ex-Slayer) and vocalist Stu Block (Into Eternity, ex-Iced Earth).

Waters explains, "When we went into this COVID disaster, I took stock of a few things because I got COVID, my wife got it and the kids got it. I got it really bad because I am older, I was an ex-smoker. I didn't drink alcohol for three decades but I'm still not an exerciser. I didn't drink a lot of water." [via Blabbermouth]

He continues, "The pandemic hit [and] I got COVID bad. I had the thing where the elephant was sitting on your chest for two weeks, and I was wheezing like a crackling fire. That's how I explained it. Whether it was in or out breath, it was a crackling fire. You were told not to pop asthma medication 'cause that could make it worse."

Waters adds, "My oxygen level got tested and they said, 'You should probably be in the hospital. If your oxygen level gets any lower, you need to be in the hospital.' And my wife watched me all day and night in another room."

The musician partially recovered over the ensuing weeks, but it took much longer to fully convalesce. "It was, like, 'Okay, [the elephants]'s not sitting on my chest anymore,'" Waters says. "But it took six to seven months. And now I understood what I thought was such a goofy term — 'long COVID.' I was thinking, 'Oh, it's another political bunch of bullshit.' And then I understood it that that was real. … Because it took over six months."

Other musicians who've battled COVID include Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson, KISS' Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, three members of Korn and several others. Metal vocalist Eric Wagner died after being hospitalized with COVID pneumonia.

Vaccination and booster efforts continue across the globe as 61 percent total of U.S. citizens are now fully inoculated. Over 800,000 Americans have died of COVID, according to The New York Times.

For Waters, he said he endured "six and a half months of, 'Did I just damage my lungs? And is my career, and maybe even life, done here?' And [then] I was back."

Pre-order Annihilator's Metal II here. See the full Annihilator chat on Bringin' It Backwards below.

Annihilator's Jeff Waters Appears on Bringin' It Backwards – Dec. 27, 2021

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