Couple with COVID-19 move forward with Manhattan move despite dangers
While it might be a curious time for a couple to pick up and move to Manhattan in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, Kori Roth and her husband already have their minds made up. That’s because last November, he accepted a two-year fellowship to work as a physician in a critical care unit in the city — even though that was well before New York City became the country’s coronavirus epicenter.
Roth’s husband is a doctor in an emergency department of a North Carolina hospital, and because of his position, he asked to maintain anonymity in this story by only using his first initial, “B.”
“B” said that while they aren’t terrified to be moving next month, they are “a little more apprehensive” than they were in the fall, as New York City has reported about 20,000 coronavirus deaths.
Roth, who teaches English as a second language, is from Norwalk, Ohio, and “B” is from Dayton, Ohio. Three years ago, the couple married and moved to Raleigh, North Carolina. They were initially excited for their move next month, which they felt would be a chance to explore the Big Apple and experience the hustle of the “city that never sleeps.”
But because of the pandemic, the city is so different now, as it has slowed tremendously with empty streets and tourist areas due to people taking precautions against contracting the virus and staying home more often than not.
“It’s interesting timing,” Roth said. “But we already had COVID, so how much worse could it get? Plus, he’ll be there making a difference.”
The couple tested positive for coronavirus in early April, after “B” had developed a cough. Because “B” works in an emergency department, he didn’t want to risk infecting anyone, so his test results were expedited.
“With all that’s happening, we’re doing our best to take all of the appropriate precautions,” he said. “For me, I went in to work with the mindset that I was going to go in and do the best work I can for my patients. When I got (COVID-19), I wasn’t all that surprised.”
He tested positive on April 3, after experiencing a dry cough and a “tickle in the back of his throat,” Roth said.
“It started off feeling like we just had seasonal allergies,” she said. “We never had fevers.”
Four days later, Roth’s test also came back positive, and by then, their symptoms progressed with chills, diarrhea and the loss of taste and smell.
“It’s an extreme fatigue,” Roth said. “Even if you’re just resting all day, it’s crazy how exhausting it is.”
On April 7, “B” had to go to the emergency room after not being able to catch his breath for about two hours. He said he had been starting to feel better the day before, but all of a sudden, he experienced a shortness of breath.
“It was unnerving for me because it came on all of a sudden,” he said. “I really didn’t want to go to the hospital. I thought I could just watch myself, but I was panting like I’d been running and my heart rate was up.”
“B” was given oxygen to help with his breathing and fluids for dehydration. After some time in the hospital, he was released that same day.
“I definitely was not expecting to get it as bad as I did, considering that we’re young and healthy,” he said. “We all think we’re invincible, and we won’t be the ones to get it bad.”
Currently, they both say they’re healthy, in shape and young, but their COVID-19 symptoms were still very serious. Roth recorded their symptoms and experience on a YouTube channel, which can be viewed at www.KoriandB.com. Roth said she still hasn’t fully recovered after a full month.
“I still get shortness of breath sometimes randomly,” she said. “Sometimes, it just lingers with people longer.”
That’s why a move to Manhattan is a bit more unsettling now than it was in the fall, as they could be at risk of getting the virus again. Even so, “B” said he’s still looking forward to working and making a difference in a critical care unit, knowing he’ll be battling the deadly virus there.
“There’s going to be some difficult decisions to make — there always are with critical care units,” he said.
“B” knows he could again contract the virus while working in such an environment, but he acknowledged that if it happens, he won’t be taken off guard.
“We now know what we’re getting into,” he said.