While many influencers have found ways to adapt during the coronavirus pandemic, an English travel YouTuber is facing the consequences of attempting to soldier through. Benjamin Rich, who goes by the username “bald and bankrupt” on YouTube, has earned close to two million subscribers for filming his explorations of “former Soviet lands.” However, after mysteriously going quiet for the last month, he has revealed that he had been battling COVID-19 after traveling to Serbia to avoid lockdown. 

“I was just living a normal life in Serbia,” Rich says in the video, titled “My COVID-19 Nightmare.” “Serbia wasn’t in lockdown; I thought it was the perfect place to come make some videos for you guys.”

He experienced symptoms for 10 days in quarantine before consulting a doctor. He was swiftly taken to the hospital and, after a few phone calls to the Russian embassy, elevated to the ICU, where he recalls witnessing horrors like the deaths of fellow patients. He also believes he has PTSD from the experience. While he was released from the hospital this week, he is still recovering from the virus in a hotel in Serbia.

Rich’s video has prompted a wave of well wishes in the comments, but also significant criticism. Serbia was not the first country he visited that was not following preventative measures during the pandemic. He arrived in Serbia from Belarus, where he wrote in the description of a previous video that “bars and restaurants are open, few wear face masks outside and today they had a big celebration with crowds.”

“So basically he was selfish enough to travel during a pandemic for stupid reasons (filming for YouTube), then used his privilege to take an ICU bed from a local Serbian?” one viewer asked on Reddit

“He was testing beer with strangers in a country that wasn’t on lockdown. Took the bus, taxis and travelled around. He said he doesn’t like it when people tell him what to do and luckily realized the only one he could blame was himself. Man, I love his videos but that was just stupid during a time like this,” another echoed.

Rich acknowledges his mistake at the end of the video, and implores his viewers to take more precautions than he did.

“I was a dick, really,” he says. “I took chances. I traveled when maybe I shouldn’t have traveled ‘cause I’ve got a channel on YouTube and you feel the pressure to make some videos...I should have just stayed home and ridden this whole thing out like everyone else.

Rich did not immediately return a request for comment.