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COVID-19 Survivors Speaks on the Deadly Virus

Omar Ayuso, a Belizean residing in Dallas, Texas remains on oxygen after having contracted Covid-19 in early July. Ayuso, who was a guest on The Morning Show via Skype, says he was at a social event when he contracted the virus. He gave our station a recap of how severe his symptoms were, and how his breathing remains laborious even after having been declared a recovered patient.

Omar Ayuso, COVID Patient: “We arrived at Los Angeles on Wednesday and by then the symptoms were kicking in pretty heavy. So I got tested and I tested positive. So the rest of the family tested negative and I went to LA for a wedding so I ended up staying in a hotel two days and the family went to deal with the wedding commitment and from there we left LA Friday night arrived in Dallas Sunday morning and I spent two three days home trying to fight this thing on my own you know. By then the symptoms were really raging and I am one of them that caught all the symptoms. Started with pain in my bones, pain in the joints, headache, then the fever kicked in, lost my taste, I started to get them daily and by the time I reached Dallas the Wednesday I was just basically sitting down trying to wait it out and that was the biggest mistake. I spent two weeks in the ICU fighting the COVID and then I spent one week after that I tested negative and then I spent one week in normal ICU because then my lungs just got destroyed. My lungs took a beating bad. I was right in the middle of the surge that you’re seeing right now. Dallas is in code red right now so I was right in the middle of that so I basically got sent him because they needed their bed. I’m at home with a machine here generating oxygen.”

Ernesto Vasquez, Host, The Morning Show: “Do you have to use that the rest of your life ?

Omar Ayuso, COVID Patient: “Well right now I wouldn’t be surprised but I don’t think so. I’m hoping I can figure out a way because the goal is to ween yourself off of it. So this machine I have here the highest flow I can have is five liters.”

Thamar Jones, Host, The Morning Show: Omar were you vaccinated ? 

Omar Ayuso, COVID Patient: “No ma’am. In my situation one spell I dropped by guard and got careless. I must have taken that test at least a dozen times because at the time I’d go to Belize every minute so every time you travel you had to take one here, one yonder, the job anytime I come back from there the job requires one so I was taking that test about a dozen times so I got kind of over confident.”

Ayuso is one of those persons who refuses to be vaccinated. Closer to home there is another Covid-19 survivor who is only recently seeing improvements in his breathing and recovery. Dr Marvin Manzanero, who was the face and voice of Covid-19 when the virus first hit Belize, contracted the virus on the job when he was visiting a health facility in the north. Since then it has been an uphill battle for him as he too had spent some time in the Intensive Care Unit.

Dr.Marvin Manzanero, COVID Survivor: We routinely take things for granted and I’m saying this because when I initially came back home I have to climb a flight of eleven stairs I couldn’t do more than two steps at a time and that takes a mental toll on you because that’s something you would routinely run up to and people around you are going and looking at you and you’re not the same person. And even if you want to you can’t I mean I recall on that particular Sunday night when I climbed it in two bouts – you know I did five steps and then six steps, you see I’m even counting the numbers. I don’t think I had ever counted that I had eleven steps to climb and I really felt I was going to die. I was just so short of breath that I really thought I was going to pass out. So it’s having to understand that it’s going to be a gradual process. Understand that there is a mental component. I mean there’s going to be levels of anxiety and depression that kick in. I mean as I said my initial bout of it I couldn’t take a shower during the night because I think my brain went back to that night when I felt I was going to die in the shower that’s the first bout of respiratory despair that I had that I thought I was really not ever going to catch my breath and then for weeks I couldn’t take showers during the night because I think my brain kept reliving that somewhere back there so I had to shower during the day when the sun was out. And I think it’s being able to speak about those things because males routinely tend to hide away behind the male prototype and you’re not able to ask for help.”

Thamar Jones, Host, The Morning Show: How do you handle those eleven flights of stairs now ? 

Dr.Marvin Manzanero, COVID Survivor: “I can run them up now. I manage to run up to 5.2 kilometers that’s the maximum distance. When I was in the hospital there was a respiratory therapist at the hospital that would give me the exercises. I came home and I did it for the first couple of days then I kind of stopped doing it and then when I started feeling really sick again I started again and was more disciplined. But no I did not after I went the second time to the hospital for my follow up I basically just with the little smart watch tracker you count your steps. You know going from doing 358 steps a day the day after I came from the hospital to gradually trying to increase it I think I set myself my own amount until eventually I could do 10,000 steps day, even the walking process I would normally walk for a minute on day one, two minutes on day two, and it was a gradual process. It took me three months after leaving the hospital for me to be able to run four hundred meters I think was my first attempt at running.”

Dr Marvin Manzanero recently received his second shot of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.