Local man who had near-deadly bout with COVID-19 still dealing with lingering symptoms
PHILADELPHIA - A Bucks County man who was one of the first people diagnosed with COVID-19 in the area during the onset of the pandemic said he's still experiencing symptoms long after recovering.
Rico Rodriguez was in the hospital for two months with coronavirus in early 2020 and needed to be on a ventilator. He said most of his time spent in the hospital was a blur and he lost 45 pounds.
"My doctor said when I first woke up that my lungs will come back, maybe not 100%, so I still do have breathing issues and shortness of breath from the longs sentence," Rodriguez said.
Two years later, Rodriguez now considers himself a COVID-19 long hauler – a term for people still experiencing symptoms long after surviving the disease.
Long COVID is usually diagnosed many weeks after a bout with COVID-19. Any long-lasting effects typically appear about 90 days after symptoms of the initial infection go away, Maria Van Kerkhove of the World Health Organization said.
Rico Rodriguez said he had a nearly deadly bout with COVID-19 during the onset of the pandemic and is still experiencing symptoms.
Overall, some estimates suggest more than a third of COVID-19 survivors will develop some symptoms of long COVID. Symptoms include fatigue, brain fog, shortness of breath, anxiety and other problems. The lingering illness is more likely if you’ve been hospitalized with COVID-19, but research shows it can happen even after a mild infection.
"He's definitely not the same as when he went into the hospital," Rico's wife Beth said. "He used to have so much energy and now his energy level is not the same and I see him struggle."
Two years removed from his near-deadly bout with COVID-19, Rodriguez said he and his family are grateful everything is opening back up.
"We consider ourselves very lucky, and I think we're very optimistic," Rico said.
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