David Lat is back at home with his husband and young son.
His voice sounds a little hoarse, but after what he went through this past month, he’ll take it.
Just three weeks ago, the 44-year-old legal recruiter and writer was fighting for his life, wondering whether he would be reunited with his family.
It all started in early March, when fatigue set in, followed by a fever, chills, a terrible cough and difficulty breathing.
It became so bad that on March 15, he left his Manhattan apartment for the hospital, but couldn’t get a coronavirus test.
A day later, Lat returned to NYU Langone after his breathing had gotten much worse.
“They did finally give me a coronavirus test and it came back positive,” Lat told me during a Skype interview. “So, I was in the hospital for a few days. They started giving me different medications. First they gave me an antiviral called Kaletra. Then they gave me the much discussed combination of hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin. Hydroxychlorogquine being the antimalarial. Azithromycin being the antibiotic.”
But his condition didn’t improve, leaving his doctors with no choice but to hook Lat up to a ventilator.
“My oxygen levels were dropping,” Lat recalled. “And someone came into my room - I forget who - and said we’re going to put you on a ventilator, on a machine that’s going to breathe for you because you can’t breathe on your own, so that was terrifying.”
It was even more terrifying for his family, which was not permitted to visit him. His parents, both doctors, spent many hours consulting by phone with his physicians.
“It was actually not a bad time for me because I was asleep the whole time,” Lat said. “It was just like time stopped, whereas it was a very hard time for my husband and for my parents because they were worried. I was in critical condition. I was in the ICU. They were worried about whether I would live or die.”
Prior to contracting the coronavirus, Lat was in good health and exercised regularly, even running the New York City marathon twice.
His husband also contracted the virus, but his case was mild.
Lat believes he became so sick because he suffers from exercise-induced asthma, which he treats with an inhaler.
“It may have made my immune system react to the virus in a way where my body was essentially attacking itself,” Lat said.
Throughout the last month, Lat documented his journey on Twitter to this 95,000 followers. At first, he said, it was to notify people with whom he had come in contact. But eventually, he used the social media platform to educate the public about his experience with the virus.
After six days on a ventilator, Lat was finally taken off, and then released from the hospital several days later. It was a happy day, he recalled, but, “also a scary day because I was no longer in the safety of the hospital.”
Lat told us he’s not sure which of the many treatments he received is responsible for his recovery.
“I really don’t know what got me better,” Lat said. “Did the drugs help? Did the drugs hinder? Did the drugs work together? Did the drugs counteract each other? I have no idea.”
Lat is still dealing with a mild cough and overall weakness, but he is improving. He is in far better shape than where he was just a few weeks ago, when his family wasn’t sure whether he would survive.