Here’s a challenge for you. Take a look at any news outlet and see if you can find a story that has nothing to do with COVID-19.
You can probably do it, but it might take a while. Here’s another challenge. Find a news story about the coronavirus that does not include statistics. Such as the number of confirmed/presumed cases and deaths.
That’s one of the problems with news coverage of this pandemic. Unless the victim is famous, he or she is usually just a number. And unless the individual is ill or has died, we don’t hear about them.
I don’t want to minimize the heartaches that have resulted from this pandemic. They are very real and need to be acknowledged.
But today I want to focus on a few of the hundreds of thousands of people who have become infected and then recovered. Their stories deserve to be told as well.
Elderly Navy Vet Storms Back
Anthony Saylor is a 93-year-old World War II Navy veteran who contracted the virus in March.
He was cared for mainly at home by his daughters, both of whom became infected but experienced only mild symptoms.
Saylor had a high fever, chills, body aches and a bad cough. His family considered Hospice care for him. But after several weeks, he recovered and is now symptom free.
“It was scary,” one of his daughters told Newsday. “There were times that he was really bad. He said it was his love of family that got him through it.”
Up and Cruising Again
A couple of Utah residents became infected with the coronavirus while on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
Jerri and Mark Jorgenson recovered at home. In fact, Mark said he was surprised he tested positive because he was showing no symptoms.
To be cautious, they stayed in separate rooms at home. They avoided kisses, hugs and even fist bumps.
“What we’ve chosen to do,” Jerri said, “is keep our wits about us. Be calm, be present. This is what it is. And we are going to get through it.”
Nurse Recovers and Returns
Jillian Raimondi is a 30-year-old nurse at Long Island Community Hospital. She’s back at work now, but only after a 2½-week illness and quarantine.
She became infected by treating COVID-19 patients. She experienced many of the symptoms associated with the disease.
They included tightness in her chest, fever and chills. As well as aches, fatigue, and the loss of taste and smell.
“I love to work and to care for people,” Raimondi said. “I am scared to go back, but I want to be there.”
Reporter Believes in Social Distancing
An ABC News reporter, Kaylee Hartung, tested positive a few days after returning home from Seattle. That’s where she was covering the outbreak.
She said at first her only symptoms were a runny nose and some body aches. Now she wants to be a reality check for those with mild symptoms.
“We need to be listening to our bodies and recognizing there are no coincidences right now,” she said.
“Social distancing needs to be taken seriously. By the time you have symptoms, it’s too late. You have already been capable of spreading this virus.”
Teacher Keeps on Teaching
Stacey Wink is a school teacher who was able to recover from COVID-19 at home. Despite a fever, persistent cough and fatigue.
Her husband, who was presumed to be infected as well, suffered only mild symptoms.
“Right now I just feel very lucky that I am not as bad as many others,” she said. “I did not need to go to the hospital. I wasn’t alone.”
Somehow she was able to keep up her routine, including teaching remotely. “The best thing is to be positive and do as much as you can.”
Caution Isn’t Always Enough
Geoffrey Sorensen was concerned about the coronavirus well before he contracted it. In fact, he repeatedly told friends to wash their hands and use a disinfectant.
Returning from a trip to Washington, D.C., he started exhibiting some mild symptoms. Such as those similar to a bad cold.
His grandmother, on the other hand, died four days after showing symptoms. And now his mother has it.
“I learned that it could affect anyone,” he said. “I thought I was being careful and I still got it.” The survivor is now being tested to see if his plasma can help sicker coronavirus patients.
The Elephant in the Room Finally Left
A man named Chris Kane told ABC News that he started to feel ill after returning from a business trip in Florida. His number one symptom was chest pressure.
“What got me kind of nervous was when my chest started to feel like an elephant was standing on (it)… basically tough to get your breath,” he said.
He was hospitalized and put on a ventilator. Taking the same drug that was once tested to treat Ebola, he recovered.
“My breathing got better,” he said when he started to improve. “I was able to move around the room.”
Many of us are doing everything we can to stay safe. But we should also remember that COVID-19 is not necessarily a death sentence.
A vast majority of people recover. And it’s a good idea to listen to their stories.