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COVID-19 Survivor: "Don't Use My Experience As An Indicator Of What Yours Might Be"


Asheville resident Peter Landis was one of the first confirmed 'community spread' cases of COVID-19 in Buncombe County.  The 71-year-old retired journalist was told on March 23rd he had tested positive, one week after he had been tested at his primary care physician's office.  Landis had not traveled in recent months, and said he was not in contact with a known confirmed case of COVID-19.  He has since recovered, and spoke with BPR's Matt Bush over the phone to discuss his symptoms of the virus, and what he wants people to know about his experience.  You can hear the whole interview above.


What he did after his diagnosis was confirmed - "I pretty much confined myself to one bedroom (of the apartment he shares with his wife).  She stayed in our study which had a Murphy bed.  But the fact of the matter is in a small apartment, you can't usually stay entirely apart.  And she wound up with symptoms sometime after I did.  And although she wasn't tested, we both believe she had coronavirus, and has since recovered.  It's a difficult situation to be in.  There's only so much cleaning, but if you have a momentary lapse and forget about a door handle or a glass or something else you might touch, it's possible for the other person to pick it up."

What the coronavirus test is like - "The coronavirus test is no fun.  What they need to do is take a swab, and put it really far up to basically where your nasal passages meet your throat.  Before they did the test, the nurse who did it said 'this is going to feel like we're piercing your brain.'  And it did.  They need to get that far up to get a decent sample of whatever virus there might be."

What were his symptoms like - "It was like a case of the flu.  Aches, the body aches, not the usual old-person aches like I normally get.  It was a fever that bounces around.  Mine never went above 99.9 degrees, but it would bounce below 98.6 and then go back up.  It was eminently treatable with ibuprofen or acetominophen.  But it wasn't fun.  It was typical of what you expect for the flu, and just feel lousy.  I never had any respiratory issues thankfully, even though I do have a history of asthma.  I must be in that 80% that have symptoms that are mild to moderate."

After his experiences, what would he tell people - "Don't use my experience as an indicator of what yours might be.  The fact that I went through it, my wife went through it and our symptoms were relatively mild to moderate doesn't mean it's going to the same for someone else.  There are a lot of young people who are developing more severe cases.  I should not be used as a marker.  Please don't use me as a marker."

Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016. Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C. For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor. Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis. Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.