COVID-19 survivors are speaking out about what it is like to contract the disease. As of Saturday morning, there are 287,239 confirmed cases and 11,921 deaths that have been reported across the world.
In the US, 19,385 confirmed cases and 231 deaths have so far been reported. Many large metropolitan areas have missed the critical containment window to implement social distancing measures to suppress the epidemic curve, resulting in the mass community spreading, and now an exponential curve in cases.
The mortality rate of COVID-19 in the US is approximately 0.0119%, mostly because the hospital bed and ICU-level treatment capacity remain open, treating the most vulnerable. But when capacity is full, and the sick cannot get ventilators, that is when the mortality rate will skyrocket, currently playing out in Italy.
The Sacramento Bee has piecemealed six COVID-19 survivor interviews that give personal accounts of what it is like to contract the disease. These survivors are from the US and Europe and have a common theme they want to share: "Please take this seriously:"
Coronavirus Survivor: Connor Reed
Believed to be the first person from the United Kingdom to catch coronavirus, Reed told Sky News the virus progressed in stages. He continued a repeating cycle of getting better, then feeling worse again.
Just 25 years old, Reed told Sky News he lost his voice from an incessant cough. He was unable to make any sounds, he added.
Reed was in China when he caught the virus and told the North Wales Pioneer he was ill for about two weeks.
"The best case of recovery is having enough rest and keeping quarantined and being by yourself," he told the Pioneer.
Coronavirus Survivor: Chris Kane
A 55-year-old Washington resident, Kane got the virus last month while on a business trip in Florida, according to ABC News. He said his first major symptom was pressure on his chest.
"What got me kind of nervous was when my chest started to feel like, you know, an elephant was standing on (it) basically tough to get your breath," he told ABC News.
Kane was treated with remdesivir, an antiviral therapy that was used in Ebola treatment, according to NBC News. The treatment was used on the seventh day he was in the hospital, and positive results were shown the following day.
"We are 100,000 percent convinced that the remdesivir turned things around for him," his wife, Susan Kane, told NBC News.
Coronavirus Survivor: Tara Jane Langston
A 39-year-old gym-goer, Langston urged people while in a London ICU hospital bed not to take any chances with the virus.
She said she had lost count of how many days she was dealing with the virus.
"If anyone still smokes, put the cigarettes down because I'm telling you now, you need your ... lungs," she said in a video posted to Facebook. "Please, none of you take any chances."
Langston told MailOnline the virus is like "having glass in your lungs. It's hard to explain, but every breath is a battle."
She is now recovering, according to MailOnline, and posted the video to warn younger people that they also are susceptible to the virus.
Coronavirus Survivor: Amy Driscoll
Initial symptoms for the 48-year-old Ohio mother included a 99.2 degree fever, along with a headache and heavy cough, she wrote on Facebook. She also said she had low blood pressure and a high heart rate.
She calls herself "the face of this infection."
"It is brutal and I'm a healthy 48 year old with no underlying conditions," she wrote. "I'm not 100 percent better but I'm home resting. Please take this seriously. People you love, their lives may depend on it."
She told BuzzFeed she felt fine when she went to work one day last week, but her symptoms quickly hit her hard. Released from a hospital a couple days after being admitted, she has been in quarantine this week. "Quarantine is not fun, but I would much rather be in quarantine and know I'm not exposing anyone else to this — and I'll take that," she told BuzzFeed.
Coronavirus Survivor: Christy Brown
Brown, 73, thought she was having intestinal issues, but she went to the doctor several days later when her symptoms did not subside, according to WFPL.
The Louisville resident told WHAS she did not have many of the symptoms typically shown in the virus, including a fever.
She began isolation on March 8 when her symptoms appeared, according to the Courier-Journal.
Brown said she alerted people she may have been in contact with as soon as she was diagnosed with the virus.
"You never know of course whether you've done it as thoroughly as you could do it, because you've never had an experience like this," Brown said on the WHAS podcast The Proffitt Report. "This is new to all of us. It's an extraordinarily new journey that's terrifying but we're all a part of the solution."
Coronavirus Survivor: Eric Elnes
The pastor of Countryside Community Church in Omaha, Nebraska, Elnes told churchgoers in a livestream he tested positive for the virus after returning from a trip to Spain.
He told the congregation he only has mild symptoms.
"In fact, that's a source of comfort, but it also should be a source of concern," he said. "The only reason why I was told to get tested is because I traveled abroad and had that one symptom (slight cough, elevated heart rate)."
He told CNN he didn't think much of his symptoms, but worries for people he may have been in contact with.
"I can't even imagine now the people who have been exposed to somebody like me," he said. Brown
Another survivor has a message for all of us: "If anyone still smokes, put the cigarettes down, because I am telling you, you need your f*cking lungs."