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California resident Gregg Garfield, 54, spent two months in the hospital battling the novel coronavirus and only had a 1 percent chance of surviving — but he managed to beat the odds and was released Friday.
Garfield was in the hospital for 64 days and spent 31 of them on a ventilator, according to Record Searchlight.
He was also reportedly considered “patient zero” at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, which is only about 10 miles north of Los Angeles.
Garfield was hospitalized after a February trip to Italy, which has remained a global hotspot for the pandemic, Searchlight reported.
“The disease kicked off, and my immune system just ate me alive,” Garfield told KCAL-TV in Los Angeles.
His sister, Stephanie Garfield Bruno, told KABC-TV that four different parts of his lungs had collapsed and he was physically unable to walk.
As he begins his long journey of recovery, he said his mission is to educate people about how real the viral threat has become.
“The only thing I really am focused on right now is telling the story about how real this is,” he told KCAL-TV.
The news comes as Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new guidelines on Tuesday for California restaurants, malls and offices to start reopening in the coming weeks, under strict guidelines.
As of Sunday, there were more than 67,000 positive cases of coronavirus in California and over 2,700 deaths. Nationwide, there were more than 1.3 million cases and over 80,000 deaths.
Of the more than 9.3 million tests issued in the U.S., 14.4 percent have come back positive.