A Democratic congressman with coronavirus is feeling sore, feverish and winded – even from eating and drinking – as he battles the disease that is spreading through the US and has infected thousands while killing more than 200 people.
“I am at home, feeling about as sick as I’ve ever been,” Utah Rep. Ben McAdams told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Friday.
“It’s really labored breathing, I feel like I have a belt around my chest that’s really tight. When I cough, my muscles are so sore, so I just feel pain every time I cough, which is frequently,” he added. “I feel short of breath and I have a fever of about 102.”
McAdams said that he was also experiencing a loss of appetite – an issue when he needs fluids and is easily winded.
“I don’t have an appetite so I have to force myself to drink fluids, that’s something they told me to do,” he said. “But a lot of times when I eat or drink, I lose my breath again,” as well as “when I get up and walk, if I go downstairs or walk around.”
McAdams, who said that he self-isolated at the onset of symptoms, is one of the two lawmakers with a confirmed case of the virus. He and Florida Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart both said Wednesday that they had tested positive for coronavirus, stoking concerns among Capitol lawmakers continuing to convene for votes as the number of reported US cases climbed to more than 17,000 on Friday.
When asked whether he should be in a hospital, McAdams said that he was being monitored by a doctor and shared some of the doctor’s insight.
“They said that right now, as long as it doesn’t get worse, I’m fine. That the seventh and eighth day are kind of the worst days of it,” he said, noting that he was currently on his seventh day with the virus.
McAdams said that he had not been prescribed medicine to combat the virus, simply basic medicine to mitigate the symptoms.
“They’ve said I can take Tylenol to watch the fever, but there’s really nothing we can do,” he said. “I can take cough medicine, I haven’t, but there’s really nothing we can do other than just take it easy.”
McAdams urged people, especially those heartened by being young and not currently showing symptoms, to listen to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Protection to wash hands frequently, stay home if possible and practice social distancing.
“This is not overblown, this is very serious – I’m 45, I’m in good health, and it has knocked me down,” he said. “And so we need to follow these guidelines to slow the spread of this. This is going to be bad.”