Upon the spread of the deadly virus of COVID-19, on March 14, 2020, while in the custody of NYSDOCCS, all visits were terminated until further notice, due to the deadly and crushing virus. I’ll never forget it, it was a Saturday. I remember waiting to get on the phone to call my family and loved ones on the outside, to speak with them and follow up with them in regards to my legal affairs and the fight we are engaged in for my liberty. As I’m standing waiting to get on the phone that Saturday afternoon, I see other prisoners coming back from the visiting floor. They were saying that they shut down the visiting room, and at first I didn’t believe it. In prison there’s a lot of gossip, a lot of rumor-mongering and misinformation going around. So if you’re wise you will wait to see what is really true and what is false. However, as the days went on this word that was going around about the prison visiting room being closed became truer and truer by the days and weeks and months. It was all over the news about the pandemic, so the fear of it for myself and others behind these walls became realer [sic]. We are not allowed any visits because of the fear of the spread of the virus in here, but what was weird and alarming to myself and others was that COs (correction officers) were not wearing any masks. In a county where the numbers were alarming for weeks, COs still came in and out of the prison with no masks, and they were not and are still not being tested for COVID at the front gate of the prison. This went on for at least a month or two if not more. One morning there was an elderly prisoner taken to an outside hospital for an unrelated issue while being escorted to and from this outside hospital by two COs. This elderly brother had symptoms and was taken again to an outside hospital and was tested for COVID where it was confirmed that he was positive for COVID-19, and so were the COs that escorted him there. The prison population started, slowly but surely, getting infected. Prisoners having increasing body aches, and body temperatures started rising, and different prisoners in the mess hall were rushed to an outside hospital profusely sweating and complaining about body aches and having high body temperatures. As days went on we suffered our first blow of an elderly man known to the prison population as Columbia who worked in the law library as a porter. He was admitted into the hospital where he died as a result of the spread of COVID-19 behind these walls. The numbers increased throughout the prison and on April 5, 2020, death came closer to me knocking on my door. A brother locked down in a cell two cells down from me was not himself. He complained to me in an unusually low tone of him feeling extremely tired and feeling weak and having a headache. He told the CO on the tier the symptoms he was feeling and was allowed to go to the prison hospital to have his temperature taken; it was 99.7 degrees which medical personal at the prison hospital felt was not serious enough for him to be taken to an outside hospital, and so he was sent back to his cell with some headache medication. But he still felt ill for days following. He was too weak to go out to the yard and alarm his family of how he was feeling. He wrote down on a piece of paper the family number so that I can call them for him, and I did. That same night after calling his loved ones I began to feel shortness of breath, body aches and body chills. I lay down trying to sleep it off, but that didn’t work. I woke up only feeling weaker and my body heat was extremely high and I was sweating heavily to the point where my bed sheets were drenched with sweat after waking up. I could not get out the bed. As the days followed my ability to smell and taste was gone, and at that point I put in a sick call slip to the hospital to address how I was feeling. When I was called to the hospital I told the nurse the way I was feeling only to be told that she would “schedule me in to see the doctor,” which didn’t happen until weeks later. Till this day I have never been tested for COVID-19. Prison is a human warehouse. There is no social distance here. When we started making our own masks to protect ourselves from infection, we were told we would be written up and given a misbehavior report for wearing any homemade mask in the facility. My sister sent me a mask in a package following this illness—I was not allowed to receive it. And I had to spend my money to ship them back to her. After much outcry from families on the outside, prison officials for the first time gave out masks to the population on May 7, 2020—two months already into this pandemic we finally got relief. But it’s not over. The virus is still a threat in a place where there are 68 cells on each tier and there are 10 tiers in every block. Where is the social distance in that position?