A 40-year-old man who competes in athletic courses has shared before-and-after photos showing the shocking impact coronavirus had on his body.
Ahmad Ayyad, who lives in Washington DC, first began experiencing flu-like symptoms on 11 March. Just days later, Ayyad became Johns Hopkins Hospital’s first Covid-19 patient to be placed on a ventilator, after testing positive for the virus.
Over the next 25 days, during which time Ayyad was “heavily sedated and often delirious,” he lost more than 60 pounds.
According to Johns Hopkins, which published an interview with Ayyad after he was discharged, he weighed 215lbs when he was first admitted to the hospital.
Nearly a month later, he woke up from his medically induced coma in the hospital’s intensive care unit to find that he weighed just 153lbs.
“The day I woke up I was 153 pounds,” he said. “My legs and arms were skinny and my chest was gone. I couldn’t believe how hard it was to just get to the edge of the bed and stand.”
According to the athlete, who played basketball several times a week, lifted weights and regularly competed in obstacle courses that required him to climb walls and carry heavy objects before he got sick, he had to relearn how to walk and talk during his recovery.
The virus also took a toll on his organs, according to the hospital, which notes that when Ayyad was discharged on 22 April, he still had a blood clot in his left arm and damage to his heart and lungs.
While Ayyad has since started gaining back some of the muscle he lost while in the hospital, his experience has left a lasting impact – on both him and the doctors who treated him.
“He is a very athletic fit individual and he’s young and so my first thought was ‘Wow if this can happen to him and he can be this sick, this can happen to anyone.’ It really opened my eyes,” Dr Natalie West, Pulmonary and Critical Care Physician at Hopkins told WMAR.
Ayyad reiterated the reminder, telling CNN: “People are acting like it’s gone. It’s not. Wear your mask. Don’t gather in big groups. Take care of yourself and the people around you.
“Take it seriously. It’s not a joke. It can kill you, even if you think you’re healthy and immune to it. You’re not.”