World March 14, 2020 | 8:30 am

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Most coronavirus patients recover

In this image, taken on February 24, 2020 and provided by Greg and Rose Yerex, the two appear in a hospital in Nagoya, Japan. These two passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the new coronavirus. Rose recovered and tested negative again, but decided to stay with Greg until he, too, can leave. (GREG YEREX VIA AP)

Amid all the fears, quarantines, and stockpiling of food, it has been easy to ignore the fact that more than 60,000 people have recovered from the coronavirus that is spreading worldwide.

COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, can cause symptoms of varying severity and is especially problematic in the elderly and people with previous health problems, who could suffer more severe effects, including pneumonia. But in the majority of those infected, the coronavirus leaves only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, and the vast majority recover.

According to the World Health Organization, patients with moderate cases of COVID-19 recover in about two weeks, while those with a more severe condition could take between three and six. In mainland China, where the virus was first detected in December, of the more than 80,000 people diagnosed, more than 58,000 have already recovered.

Because the difference in its impact can be so great, global medical authorities have the difficult task of alerting the population to the dangers of the coronavirus without creating panic.

The overall consequences of the outbreak have been overwhelming: it shook stock markets around the world; It drove the price of oil to its biggest percentage drop since the start of the Gulf War in 1991, and caused Italy and Israel to impose new restrictions due to the approach of Easter.

But even some of the most vulnerable patients can recover from COVID-19.

Charlie Campbell’s father, Eugene Campbell, 89, was diagnosed with the coronavirus and is hospitalized in Edmonds, Washington. His doctor is moderately optimistic, Charlie said, noting that “under normal circumstances, I would discharge him, but these are not normal circumstances.”

Eugene Campbell arrived at the hospital from Life Care Center, a Kirkland nursing home linked to 19 of the 23 deaths from the virus in Washington state.

“We went to see him yesterday and he seemed to be doing pretty well,” Campbell said, adding that he was breathing normally and that his vital signs and pulsations are good. “It could be the oldest person recovering from the coronavirus.”

For some of those who have been in quarantine, anxiety, and fear of being stigmatized by friends, neighbors, and coworkers make them reluctant to acknowledge even the slightest impact on their health. Patients interviewed by The Associated Press – all passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined in Japan – described the symptoms as no more severe than those of a normal cold or flu.

“It’s been a 2 on a scale of 10,” said Carl Goldman, hospitalized in Omaha, Nebraska, since February 17 after developing a fever of nearly 39.5 degrees Celsius (103 Fahrenheit) on a flight from Japan organized by the United States.

Goldman stays hydrated with Gatorade. He says he was still coughing more than two weeks after falling ill, but he probably would only have missed a day of work if he had been diagnosed with a cold or the flu. He stays active walking around his room and tries to fulfill the routine he had before taking the coronavirus of taking 10,000 steps a day.

“I fully understand that this is where I need to be and that I have to get rid of this before I am discharged,” he said.

Greg Yerex, who was diagnosed with his wife, Rose Yerex, on the Diamond Princess, said he had no symptoms and felt as healthy as any other day.

“If I were at home, I would be doing everything I normally do,” he said in an interview conducted through Facebook calls when the couple was hospitalized in Nagoya, Japan. Rose Yerex tested negative when she arrived at the medical center.

For Greg Yerex, it was the couple’s mental health that faced the greatest challenge during the quarantine, isolated from their family and friends and deprived of any direct human contact.

“It’s like being an inmate,” he said. “You walk, you worry, you worry, you imagine all kinds of things. You have no control. “

Greg Yerex said he and his wife, who has already been discharged, are planning to go to therapy to overcome the mental stress they experienced.

Another passenger on the cruise, Rebecca Frasure, knows how they feel.

“She was unable to speak to anyone,” she said in a Facebook call when she was admitted to Nagoya. ‘I have a little window in my room, but I can’t get out. The only contact I have is through Facebook messages. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.”

For Frasure, one of the most frustrating things was waiting for the test results. Patients diagnosed with the virus must have two consecutive negatives to be able to leave the quarantine.

Frasure is already discharged but is worried about being stigmatized by her community.

Are they going to be afraid? He wondered. “Are people going to criticize me for being home or thinking I brought the virus with me?”

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