COVID-19 patient with 1% chance to live goes home after 64-days in the hospital, 31 days on a ventilator

When 54-year-old Gregg Garfield traveled to Italy on a ski trip with friends in February, he had no idea he would become a Providence Saint Joseph Hospital's first coronavirus patient, nor that he would fight for his life there for more than two months straight.

He and the dozen friends with him on the trip ended up testing positive for the virus. Four of them had to be hospitalized, three were put on ventilators, but Garfield's case took an extreme turn. Despite his athleticism and good health, he ended up on a ventilator for 31 days. At one point, was only given a 1% chance of survival.

"He wasn't that bad when he came into the emergency room,"pulmonologist Dr. Daniel Dea told KABC-TV, "and within less than 48 hours, he wasn't breathing well. He was on maximum oxygen."


It's a good reminder that COVID-19 is unpredictable, and that for some people, a robust immune system ends up hurting more than helping. "The disease kicked off, and my immune system just ate me alive," Garfield told KCAL-TV.

Garfield's sister Stephanie offered some details of his terrifying journey on a GoFundMe page for him:

"On March 5, 2020 Gregg checked himself into St. Joseph's Providence Hospital Burbank with serious Covid-19 symptoms. He was the hospital's first Covid-19 patient, or "Patient Zero" as they call him. Two days later, under heavy sedation and paralytic drugs, the doctors intubated him- around day 10 doing a tracheostomy- and he continued to be on a ventilator for 31 days. During that time his body became septic; his kidneys failed and he was put on CRRT dialysis; his blood pressure plummeted and he needed medications to divert his blood-flow to his major organs for survival, leaving his hands and feet starving for circulation; he spiked fevers and was covered in ice; his lungs collapsed 4 times and chest tubes were inserted; and he developed secondary infections that are common in hospital environments. He had a 1% chance of surviving. The doctors and nursing staff had to always remain 3 steps ahead of any potential disasters because to enter his room took about 15 minutes for them to gear up in their hazmat attire. Gregg knocked on death's door, but said "F#$% NO! I'm not coming in!!!"

On Friday, Garfield finally got to leave the hospital and go home—to a rousing and heartwarming send-off from hospital staff:

"This is really emotional for me," Garfield told KCAL-TV. "I have a hard time receiving. I have received an outpour of unbelievable love. The only thing I really am focused on right now is telling the story about how real this is."

Garfield still has a long road ahead of him as his body learns to walk and breathe normally again. An update on the GoFundMe page describes the impact of being bedridden and ventilated for as long as he was: "The sustained lack of circulation to his extremities caused his fingers and toes to turn black, similar to a frostbite injury. This caused permanent damage and unfortunately once he is released from acute rehab, he will be looking at additional surgeries for amputation, prostheses and of course more physical/occupational therapy as he learns to navigate this new world."

However, Garfield is confident he will recover completely—which is the best gift he could give to the dedicated hospital staff who never gave up on him.

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Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

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We have seen some glimmers of hope from both human innovation and nature itself, however. In 2016, a bacteria that evolved with the ability to break down plastic was discovered in a Japanese waste site. Two years later, scientists managed to engineer the mutant plastic-eating enzyme they called PETase—named for polyethylene terephthalate, the most common plastic found in bottles and food packaging—in a lab.

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Ending Plastic Pollution with Designer Bacteria youtu.be

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$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather has become a beloved voice of reason, knowledge, and experience for many Americans on social media the past few years. At 88, Rather has seen more than most of us, and as a journalist, he's had a front row seat as modern history has played out. He combines that lifetime of experience and perspective with an eloquence that hearkens to a time when eloquence mattered, he called us to our common American ideals with his book "What Unites Us," and he comforts many of is with his repeated message to stay "steady" through the turmoil the U.S. has been experiencing.

All of that is to say, when Dan Rather sounds the alarm, you know we've reached a critical historical moment.

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Editor's Note: We used "black" in lowercase for our headline and the body of this story in accordance with emerging guidelines from the Associated Press and other trusted news outlets who are using uppercase "Black" in reference to American descendants of the diaspora of individuals forcibly brought from Africa as slaves. As part of our ongoing efforts to be transparent and communicate choices with our readership, we've included this note for clarity. The original story begins below.

On February 26, 2019, Stacy and Babajide Omirin of Lagos, Nigeria got quite the shock. When Stacy delivered identical twins through C-section one came out black and the other, white.

The parents knew they were having identical twins and expected them to look exactly the same. But one has a white-looking complexion and golden, wavy hair.

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