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Man with 1% chance of surviving COVID-19 recovers after 64 days

California man with 1% chance of surviving COVID-19 recovers after 64 days
WATCH: Gregg Garfield, 54, spent 64 days in a Burbank hospital recovering from the virus he caught in Italy during his annual ski trip.

A California man battling COVID-19 just beat terrible, terrible odds.

Gregg Garfield, 54, was on an annual ski trip to Italy with 12 other skiers just as the novel coronavirus was spreading in the country in February.

Three days into the trip, people started getting sick. By the end, everyone was ill, ABC7 reports.

“A total of four guys were hospitalized, one being Gregg,” fellow skier Brett Lightner said. “Three were on ventilators.”

READ MORE: ‘Oldest woman in Spain’ survives coronavirus at age 113

By the time Gregg returned home from Europe, he needed hospitalization.

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“Ambulance came in full hazmat gear, and I walked in and I was Patient Zero at the hospital,” he told CBS-affiliate KCAL9-TV.

“The disease kicked off and my immune system just ate me alive.”

Not long after being taken to a Burbank hospital, Garfield was intubated and on a ventilator for 31 days. His kidneys started failing and his blood pressure plummeted, the station says.

Coronavirus around the world: May 13, 2020
Coronavirus around the world: May 13, 2020

He was the first coronavirus patient at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center with only a 1 per cent chance of surviving, USA Today says.

By some miracle, he was given the all-clear to leave last Friday, 64 days after first walking into the hospital.

The hospital shared a touching video of medical staff clapping as he was wheeled out of the hospital by his family.

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“The infectious disease doctor walks in the other days and says to me, ‘You’re a miracle. Medically, you should not be here,'” he said.

Though Garfield is in recovery, his case exemplifies how quickly the virus acts.

“He wasn’t that bad when he came into the emergency room and within less than 48 hours, he wasn’t breathing well [and] he was on maximum oxygen,” pulmonologist Dr. Daniel Dea told ABC7.

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Garfield is learning how to breathe and walk again.

“This is really emotional for me,” Garfield said. “The only thing I really am focused on right now is telling the story about how real this is.”

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca