TESTAMENT singer Chuck Billy doesn't know exactly how he contracted COVID-19 but he believes he might have gotten it from DEATH ANGEL drummer Will Carroll, who almost died from the disease after the two bands toured Europe together.
Carroll, who spent almost two weeks on a ventilator in an intensive care unit at a Northern California hospital, told San Francisco's KRON-TV that he "knew" he had been infected with the coronavirus while he was still in Europe.
"Halfway through the tour, people started getting sick and it started spreading from one person to the other," Will said. "Once I did get sick, the third or fourth to last day [of the tour], it hit me pretty hard and I knew I probably had COVID. I just knew it."
Asked in a new interview with Hot Metal if he was aware that Carroll and some of the other members of DEATH ANGEL were "quite ill" while they were still on the road in Europe, Billy said: "No. Because it was the last three days, I think [Will] said, of the tour [that he first started feeling sick]. But no, he didn't say he was sick or had it or thought he had it, but, you know, I think he should have said something. Unfortunately, I don't think it was cool… I mean, he could have got stuck in Europe for a long time. With his problems, he could have been on a ventilator in Europe… But, again, to think that he was ill, just to get on that plane and spread it himself if he was contagious, that's kind of… a little wrong."
Billy was then asked by Hot Metal whether he has any idea how he might have contracted COVID-19. He said: "I don't. But being the band, we are amongst ourselves — the three bands," referring to TESTAMENT, DEATH ANGEL and EXODUS. "We really didn't go and walk through the crowds or nothing. So we were isolated to ourselves. So if Will did get us sick, maybe it was that last hug on stage, that last show when Will was around us all. I don't know — if he thought he was really ill at that point. Because we didn't have a lot of public interaction with each other — it was mostly just all three bands and crews. So, we don't know. It could have been that last night. Or it could have been at the airport, because some of the people on the bus didn't get sick, who slept in the same areas with us and were really close to us. So maybe we got it at the airport that last night. Maybe we got it on the plane coming home. We just don't know… But we do know that we all came down [with it] around the same time. I think if Will was sick first, if they were sick first, maybe they must have gave it to us — I don't know — but the rest of our band and crew started feeling it, like, a day after we got home."
Hot Metal's entire interview with Billy can be heard at the magazine's Patreon pay site.
Billy was one of the first metal musicians to test positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Chuck later revealed that TESTAMENT bassist Steve DiGiorgio was also diagnosed with the disease.
COVID-19 symptoms vary widely, and undertesting in many countries means that many people may have already had the coronavirus without having received a positive diagnosis.
EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt, whose band was also on "The Bay Strikes Back 2020" tour, tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of March.
More than 3.7 million coronavirus cases have been reported worldwide and more than 259,000 deaths so far, putting public health systems and emergency services under immense pressure.
U.S. officials have repeatedly urged Americans to heed what federal, state and local officials are asking of them in order to curtail the spread and dampen the impact of the virus on the population.