An Idaho man who 'thought the virus would disappear' after the election now has long COVID and will need oxygen for the rest of his life
  • A man who thought the coronavirus would “disappear” after the election has realized he was wrong.
  • Paul Russell told the Idaho Statesman he was a “conspiracy theorist” until he was infected.
  • He was hospitalized, can no longer work, and said he will need oxygen for the rest of his life.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A man who thought the coronavirus “would disappear the day after the election” was hospitalized for more than two weeks with the virus and said he will now need medical oxygen for the rest of his life.

Paul Russell, 63, from Boise, Idaho, told the Idaho Statesman: “Before I came down with the virus, I was one of those jackasses who thought the virus would disappear the day after the election. I was one of those conspiracy theorists.”

But he was in hospital a week after the November 3 election with the coronavirus, the Statesman’s Audrey Dutton reported.

Russell said he was returning from his job as a long-haul trucker when he started to feel unwell, and quarantined himself at home in a travel trailer he owns with his wife.

He did a test that came back positive, and a few days later started to feel so unwell that he asked his wife to bring him to the hospital, where he received intensive care.

A nurse put him on the phone to his wife, and Russell said that she told him how much she loved him, “because she didn’t know if I was gonna make it through the night.”

In total, he spent 16 days in St Luke’s Boise Medical Center, the Statesman reported.

He also enrolled in a clinical trial to test the effects of an immuno-suppressive drug on the virus.

He was able to go home on Thanksgiving day and have dinner with his family: “It was the best Thanksgiving I’ve ever had.” 

But Russell said he is still living with the effects of the virus.

He said: “I’m gonna be on oxygen the rest of my life, according to my doctor.”

Russell added: “Life is no good right now. Except for one thing: I’m alive.”

Some people who are infected with the coronavirus continue to experience symptoms for weeks and months afterwards, in what is being called “long COVID.” Symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, pain, and problems with memory.

The US Centers for Disease Control says that “patients can have symptoms that can last for weeks or even months after recovery from acute illness.”

And it notes that some people experience “more serious long-term complications,” including inflammation of the heart muscle and depression and anxiety.

One study published in February found that 76% of COVID-19 patients who were hospitalized in Wuhan, China, had at least one symptom of the virus six months after they first got sick. 

This puts additional pressure on healthcare systems already overwhelmed by treating virus patients.

Get the latest coronavirus business & economic impact analysis from Business Insider Intelligence on how COVID-19 is affecting industries.

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