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Charlotte man takes to social media urging COVID safety after 8 of his friends died

 CHARLOTTE, N.C. — William Wilson said for months he argued with one of his oldest friends, begging him to wear a mask, and that friend refused. The last phone call between the Navy buddies was from his friend's hospital bed.

Many of Wilson’s Facebook posts this year have been about the coronavirus.

"People are dying out here," he said. "Forget the politics, it's people’s lives."

His big frustration: people in his social circle who refuse to wear masks despite the fact that experts say they help protect us and each other.

"Let's just try to save people’s lives, try to do the right, moral thing," Wilson said.

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The Charlotte-based suit-maker is so passionate because he’s personally lost people he loved.

"I've actually lost eight people since March," he said. "I haven’t lost eight people in my entire life."

Wilson moved to Charlotte in 1998 after getting out of the Navy. He said a guy he served with, one of his oldest friends, was someone he’d argued with the most since March because he wouldn't wear a mask or social distance.

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"He tested positive for COVID and when he called he was like, 'Man I wish I’d listened to you," Wilson said. 

He died two weeks ago -- just five days after being diagnosed. He was 45, a vegan, and an avid runner with no underlying health conditions.

"I'm sad because I lost my friend, and I’m angry because it was preventable," Wilson said.

That’s why he says he’s going to keep up his Facebook posts. 

He's hoping his posts encourage like-minded people to keep wearing their masks and social distancing and know they're not alone, while at the same time potentially reaching others who aren't on board yet.

"When I see people wearing masks, social distancing -- they’re heroes," Wilson said. "They’re saving someone’s life, they’re saying it’s not about me it’s about you. That's heroic to me, you're putting people above yourself."

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