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Recovered COVID-19 patient shares story nationally

Posted at 9:19 PM, Apr 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-14 23:34:16-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A Utah man who has recovered from a case of COVID-19 is telling his story about suffering from this coronavirus through local media outlets across the country.

“My symptoms -- it was like a roller-coaster ride," Matt Newey said. "I’d be feeling good one day, then bad the next day. It was just crazy."

His symptoms peaked about three or four days after being diagnosed. Newey had previously had a fever, but now a bad cough and shortness of breath were making life miserable.

"Everything was just burning," he said. "My lungs were burning. My sinuses were burning. And my lungs just contracted to where it felt like I was breathing through a straw, and I could not catch my breath.”

He called the hospital at that point, but he said he was told to stay home unless he felt like he might lose consciousness. He said the hospital didn't want to run the risk of him infecting other patients.

On March 25, Newey had gone three-straight days without symptoms and was allowed to leave the quarantine in the basement of his family's home. The precautionary measures worked: Newey's parents and sister, who also live in the home, did not get sick.

“It was a miracle," he said. "I have no idea how they didn’t (get sick)."

Newey now is putting what he calls his "superpower" to good use.

"I feel like I’m Superman because I have these antibodies and am most likely immune to the virus," he said. "It gives me the opportunity to go into these areas like grocery stores and (other places) that are dangerous.”

In addition to going grocery shopping for people at risk of having serious complications from COVID-19, Newey also will take part in a convalescent plasma program.

Doctors draw blood plasma from a recovered-patient, process it, and then give it to a critically-ill patient. There's a similar program in place in Corpus Christi, and doctors say it's working.

“The last patient received the plasma on Day One -- which is a remarkable achievement in my opinion -- and that patient recovered in five days,” said Local Health Authority Dr. Srikanth Ramachandruni said at Tuesday's daily press briefing at City Hall.

Being able to possibly save lives with his antibodies has Newey somewhat thankful that he contracted COVID-19.

"I kind of like being the guinea pig through all this," he said. "I’m kind of happy I caught the virus, so I can have this opportunity to help serve and help other people."