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Stories of hope and resilience from COVID-19 survivors

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have heard so many stories of loss and lasting illness. But for most who contract it, the novel coronavirus is not a death sentence. The NewsHour spoke to several survivors about their symptoms, how they coped with their sickness and what they learned from the experience.

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  • Amna Nawaz:

    Since the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have heard stories of loss and lasting illness.

    But for most, the virus is not a death sentence.

    So tonight, we wanted to bring you some of those stories of survival and hope.

  • Alastair Bistoi:

    I am a COVID-19 survivor.

  • Zaimah Habeeb:

    I survived coronavirus.

  • Jan Johnson:

    I'm 91 years old, and I survived coronavirus.

  • Arlyn Quitevis:

    I'm a nurse practitioner, I'm a front-liner, and also a coronavirus survivor.

  • Beverlyn Quiteves:

    I'm also a COVID-19 survivor.

  • Denise Delponte Desarono:

    I'm a coronavirus survivor, and I donated plasma as well.

    I had a fever, but it was never as high as they stated on the news. I was very lethargic.

  • Alastair Bistoi:

    I had gotten sick, but I have never — like, it felt like I was at a sauna or a sweat lodge, like, where I was just like wet.

  • John Meng:

    Body aches, fatigue, and then a little bit of nausea. I didn't have any shortness of breath, no fever at all.

  • Jan Johnson:

    I was asymptomatic, and I had no — I didn't feel any different than I did normally.

  • Beverlyn Quiteves:

    They did a chest X-ray, and I had a severe bilateral pneumonia.

  • Amanda Ellis:

    I was gasping for breath, probably about every — 20 or 30 times a minute. And a couple of nights, I said my goodbyes to the world and woke up in the morning, not knowing that I would.

  • Gena Ross:

    In the hospital, I sang songs to myself. I tried to comfort myself. And I prayed a lot. And I made videos on Facebook to let people know, you know, this is what's going on with me, but trying to encourage people too.

  • Alastair Bistoi:

    Knowing my status, it gave me some relief in some ways. This is not good news I'm positive, but it's also good news, in a sense that I can focus my body on where I need healing.

  • Zaimah Habeeb:

    I would take in a very, very, very deep breath and hold it for five seconds. And then I would breathe out very slowly. And I would do that over and over.

    During those moments, I just would think about how I needed to get well for my kids and that I had so much to live for.

  • John Meng:

    Even if you're someone who's relatively healthy, living an active lifestyle, with no underlying illnesses, and relatively young, your life can really be impacted by this virus.

  • Arlyn Quitevis:

    Some patients are kind of — kind of on the fence sometimes when reaching out to their primary care doctor.

    But if there's something that's off and you're concerned, definitely seek medical advice. Don't wait.

  • Jan Johnson:

    Just take it one day at a time. Don't worry about the future. Just be grateful about the past.

  • Amanda Ellis:

    I always thought that, at the end of my life, I would have time to say goodbye, and maybe not. I'm going to, you know, spend my time to make sure that the people I love know that and why.

  • Zaimah Habeeb:

    I had no idea how much people cared for me. You just never know the difference that you make in someone's lives. And I have heard people say that to me: Like, wow, we really need you to get better because you're an inspiring person to me.

    And I'm like, really? Thank you.

  • Gena Ross:

    I made it. I got my double negatives. And I'm so excited.

    I got to hug my daughter. I got to touch her face. I got to feel like mom again, instead of like some just big ball of germ.

  • Jan Johnson:

    I just feel lucky to be alive.

  • Alastair BistoiI:

    One thing that has helped me through this process is having hope. I'm taught, through everything you face in your life, you always have sihasin, or hope.

  • Denise Delponte Desarono:

    So what if we're in phase three or we have to stay in another week. We have our health. We have our family. It's only going to get uphill. It can't get any worse, because you have — you have come out of this.

  • Beverlyn Quiteves:

    Hope is on the way. I always believe that. Hope is on the way. This will not last long.

  • Zaimah Habeeb:

    The morning is going to come, if you can just make it through those tough moments. Hang on. Stay strong. You can do it.

    (LAUGHTER)

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