Coronavirus: Stories of Survivors

Coronavirus: Stories of Survivors

March 17
12:43 2020

It is like a medical whirlwind that has defied known medical solutions and is claiming untold number of lives. The good news, however, is that by some act of providence and untiring efforts of medical personnel around the world, there are recorded number of patients that have survived. We bring you stories of those who have survived. From a woman whose symptoms started with a fever, to a man who said he was an inch from death, coronavirus survivors have begun speaking out about the worldwide pandemic. Incidentally, in Nigeria, the identity of the index case of the Italian that was the first to test positive is not disclosed so we could not document his.


ELIZABETH SCHNEIDER: A Seattle woman in her mid 30s, Schneider initially began feeling symptoms after attending a party, she wrote on Facebook. She had a headache, fever, severe body aches and joint pain and severe fatigue, she wrote.

“I had a fever that spiked the first night to 103 degrees and eventually came down to 100 and then low grade 99.5,” she said. Her fever subsided around March 6 — 10 days after she began feeling symptoms, she wrote. She said she did not go to the hospital because she was recovering on her own. Schneider is no longer isolating herself after surpassing the seven-day guideline recommended by her local King County Public Health Department.

“However I am avoiding strenuous activity and large crowds and I will obviously will not come near you if I see you in public,” she said.

MARC THIBAULT: A vice principal at Saint Raphael Academy in Rhode Island, Thibault was diagnosed with COVID-19 after leading a school field trip to Italy, France and Spain, according to WJAR.

He told The Wall Street Journal that while he used hand sanitizer often during the trip last month, he shared a microphone with a man who was becoming ill. On Feb. 27 — five days after he returned home — he was admitted to the hospital.

The illness hit him “like a hurricane” and he struggled with feeling like he was choking, he told the Journal. You feel like you’re asphyxiating, and you’re panicking because you can’t breathe,” he said.

Thibault added to the newspaper that he was “one inch from death.”

The vice principal remains in intensive care, but he has made “tremendous improvements,” school principal Dan Richard told WJAR.

“He is starting to show signs of his old self,” Richard said.

JERRI JORGENSEN: Jorgensen said on Fox News she felt no symptoms when she was diagnosed with COVID-19 while on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan. She said she hadn’t been sick in 30 years, but she took the news in stride.

“I never felt any fear. I was well taken care of,” Jorgensen told Fox News. “Nobody spoke English. None of the doctors or nurses spoke English. It was all Google Translate. It was interesting. We got really good at charades.”

Now back in Utah and recovering, Jorgensen said she is “laying low” after receiving threats back home.

“I don’t think anyone’s going to say, ‘I’m going to come to your house and slit your throat,’ but they are saying, ‘stay away, you better not ever be around me or my family or I will hurt you,” Jorgensen told St. George News.

She told the publication that doctors told her she poses no threat to anyone now that she has recovered from the disease. Her husband, who also was infected with the coronavirus, is quarantined in Utah.

JAMES CHI: A 32-year-old physician’s assistant who lives in New Jersey, Chi began feeling sick after he attended a medical conference in New York City, he told WFMZ. He went to the ER and quickly learned he had caught the coronavirus, according to WFMZ.

Chi was the first confirmed coronavirus case in New Jersey, WFMZ reported.

“It happened so quick,” said Chi, who added to CBS News that he believes in wearing masks to prevent the spread. Health experts advise only those who are infected with the virus or those treating sick patients wear face masks.

The virus has spread to both of his lungs, Chi said. He remains in isolation, away from his wife and daughter, according to WFMZ.


The owner of a radio station in California, Goldman was quarantined on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, and now he’s at the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit, according to NBC News.

“I have to be tested three days in a row of being negative in order to be released,” he told NBC News. “The test is pretty elaborate. They stick a swab deep into each nostril and also deep down the throat. Five seconds each. Not a fun process.”

The 67-year-old Goldman told KQED he didn’t feel ill until a plane ride home from the cruise quarantine, when his fever spiked to 103. He was then taken to the Nebraska facility.

“It’s just kind of funny,” Goldman told KQED. “Who would’ve thought my 67th birthday would’ve been in the biocontainment center in Omaha?”

He has chronicled his coronavirus journey on his station’s website and has now had the illness for more than a month.

“I will not have this virus forever. I am just a slow shredder,” Goldman wrote Tuesday. He said he has no symptoms other than still testing positive, and even his prolonged cough is almost gone.

People from UK who have survived coronavirus

David Abel, 73

David and Sally Abel were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary when they contracted Covid-19 on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, quarantined in Japan.

David, from Woodford Halse in Northamptonshire, said: “Outside the hospital I came over a bit weird and nearly passed out. Every pore on my body opened and I was wheelchaired to our room.”

They were both later diagnosed with pneumonia as well as coronavirus.

Sally has since been given the all clear. But David tested negative twice and positive once, so he cannot leave yet.

Connor Reed, 25

Connor Reed, originally from Llandudno, North Wales, had been teaching English in Wuhan, China when he began to experience “just a sniffle” on November 25.

Seven days later he began to feel much worse. In a diary, Connor, 25, wrote: “This is no longer just a cold. I ache all over, my head is thumping, my throat is constricted.

Two days later his breathing had become “laboured”, and said that going to the loo “leaves me panting”.

By December 6, he felt like he was “suffocating”.

He got a taxi to Zhongnan University Hospital as he knew there would be British doctors. He was tested and given antibiotics.

By Day 21 he ached “as if I’ve been run over by a steamroller”. He wrote: “My eardrums feel ready to pop.”

But, by Day 24 – just before Christmas – he was better.

‘Coughing Like I Was Going to Die.’ Here’s What It’s Like to Survive Coronavirus in Wuhan

For one coronavirus patient at ground zero of the outbreak, the journey from infection to recovery was a nightmare scenario that entailed multiple hospital visits, symptoms so severe he thought he would die and quarantine under police watch.

Tiger Ye — not his real name — is a 21-year-old student in Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the new virus first emerged. Ye, who doesn’t want to be identified for fear of being ostracized, first suspected he’d caught the illness that’s spread around the world on Jan. 21, when he felt too weak to finish dinner. He checked his temperature, and it was up.

At the time, little was known about the virus now known as COVID-19, but paranoia was rapidly building after authorities confirmed the highly contagious pathogen was spreading between humans in the city of 11 million. It was midnight when Ye arrived at Wuhan’s top-tier Tongji Hospital to see a waiting room filled with people like him. Feverish, he knew he would have to wait hours to be tested.

The Economic Impact of the Wuhan Coronavirus Outbreak

China’s economy is grinding to a halt as the government scrambles to stop the spread of the deadly Wuhan coronavirus, fueling fears that efforts to contain the outbreak will have worldwide economic consequences.

“I was scared,” he said. “Countless cases were piling up on the desks, and every single doctor was wearing protective clothes, something I’d never seen before.”

What followed was more than two weeks of anxiety and desperation as Ye tried to confirm if he had the pneumonia-causing virus and get treatment for his increasingly severe symptoms. He was one of the lucky ones, beating the sickness in part because his father, a health care worker, was aware of the risks earlier than most of Wuhan’s population.

More than 1,000 people have died from the new coronavirus in Hubei, the Chinese province of which Wuhan is the capital. A severe shortage of hospital beds, testing kits and other basic medical equipment mean many have to stand in line for hours to get diagnosed, and some die before even seeing a doctor. China has quarantined vast swathes of Hubei, and the outbreak has caused parts of the world’s second-biggest economy to shut down as scientists across the world race to find a cure.

The night Ye first sought treatment, he was able to procure medicine from a smaller hospital nearby after abandoning the wait at Tongji. Because his symptoms weren’t classed as very severe, doctors told him to just go home and quarantine himself.

The first four days of the illness were brutal. “I suffered from a high fever and pains that tortured every part of my body,” said Ye. He spent the days watching Japanese cartoons to distract from the discomfort.

By the time his follow-up appointment at the hospital arrived four days later, the Wuhan government had locked down the city, barring anyone from leaving to stop the virus’ spread. Everything changed in an instant: roads were empty, prices for fresh fruit and vegetables surged, and residents were unsure if they were even allowed to leave their apartments.

Ye’s condition had also deteriorated. “I was coughing like I was going to die,” he said.

At the hospital, multiple CT scans showed it was highly likely Ye had contracted the novel coronavirus and that it had spread to his lungs. Doctors deliberated if he qualified for a nucleic acid test, which would use the virus’ genetic sequence to confirm if he had been infected, but it was decided his case wasn’t severe enough. The precious supply of test kits had to be reserved for more critical patients.

Diagnosis has emerged as one of the major stumbling blocks in getting the virus under control in Hubei, where the number of those who fear they are infected far outweighs the capacity of hospitals to confirm if they are. On Thursday, Hubei began counting patients who were diagnosed via CT imaging alongside those who tested positive with the nucleic acid kits, resulting in a more than 45% surge in the number of confirmed cases, to nearly 50,000 people.

As Ye convalesced at home after his second hospital visit — not knowing if he had the virus or not — his brother and grandmother also began to show symptoms of infection. Overnight, Ye’s condition worsened to the point he thought he might die. “I thought I was knocking on hell’s door,” he said.

Ye went back to the hospital after his temperature soared to 39 degrees Celsius (about 102 degrees Fahrenheit). Doctors put him on an IV drop and administered Kaletra, a combination drug used to treat HIV that has shown some success in combating the virus, bringing his temperature down to 37 degrees by the end of the day.

A week after the symptoms first began, Ye appeared to be reaching a turning point.

The young student’s condition was steadily improving when he finally secured one of the coveted test kits on Jan. 29, which confirmed he had the virus. His doctor gave him a five-day course of the antiviral drug Aluvia and sent him back to his three-bedroom apartment for quarantine, in part because the hospital didn’t have enough beds to accommodate him.

Nine days later on Feb. 7, another set of nucleic acid tests came back negative for the virus, but Ye wasn’t out of the woods. After reports that even patients who tested negative could slip into critical distress, the local government quarantined him in a hotel that had been turned into a makeshift hospital. Police stood guard outside to prevent anyone from leaving or entering.

Ye was allowed to go home five days later, ending a saga that began more than three weeks ago. He‘s thankful he survived, and salutes the doctors and nurses who put their own lives at risk to help him. Some doctors told him they suspected they had the virus, but continued to treat patients.

Like many Chinese, Ye is critical of the government’s response to the outbreak, especially the slow initial response from local officials that meant a precious opportunity to contain the virus early on was missed. The two most senior Communist Party cadres in Hubei were replaced Thursday, as Beijing tries to gain control of the spiraling crisis.

“Hubei has missed one opportunity after another while they were trying to keep things under wraps,” Ye said. “Things wouldn’t have come to this point if the government hadn’t hidden information a month ago.”

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March 2020