Lawrence Garbuz was the first known coronavirus situation in new Rochelle, new York, and also the second person diagnosed in the state. After waking increase from a coma, he stated it was "as if 3 weeks of mine life had actually disappeared."

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Exclusive: new York's coronavirus 'patient zero': 'My wife conserved my life'

May 11, 202007:43
New York lawyer Lawrence Garbuz spoke to Savannah Guthrie in an exclusive interview on this particular day Monday around his suffer as one of the very first people in the state to it is in diagnosed v the coronavirus in what came to be one the the country"s very first hot spots.

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"I"m thankful that I"m alive," Garbuz, 50, claimed on this particular day Monday. "It"s been rather a journey."


When he very first felt ill in February, the didn"t even occur to him that it could be COVID-19, the an illness caused through the coronavirus.

"I simply thought I had a cough," the recalled. "Look, I"m a lawyer. I sit in ~ a desk all day. I think at the time we were sort of focusing on people who had maybe traveled internationally, something that I had not done. Ns had absolutely not to be to China."

For Garbuz, who stays in the suburb of brand-new Rochelle, his symptoms started as a fever.


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"I visited the doctor, and also he check me, and he said I essential to go automatically to the emergency room,"" Garbuz said.


By the time that Garbuz"s family received his diagnosis, the was already in a median induced coma. To this day, Garbuz quiet doesn"t know just how he gained sick.

"We saw the hospital," that said. "After we entered the emergency room, I have absolutely no recollection that anything that transpired till I wake up up from the coma. Therefore it"s together if three weeks of mine life had totally disappeared, and I was asleep for every one of it."

Garbuz"s wife, Adina Garbuz, initially had actually no believed that it might be coronavirus.


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"We thought, "Okay, you have actually pneumonia. We"ll gain some medicine and also you come home." and also over the weekend the increasingly obtained worse and also worse," Adina Garbuz said. "He was struggling come breathe. Ns was trying to keep him calm. You feel awful, and it"s scary."


When she did finally get the diagnosis at 9 p.m., she invested the rest of the night call local health and wellness officials come share the news.

"I didn"t want anybody else to get sick," she said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on march 2 that "a Westchester man" — that was Garbuz — had come to be the very first known diagnosis in new Rochelle and the 2nd coronavirus patience in the state.

Adina Garbuz likewise decided to deliver her husband to brand-new York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan and also asked for him to it is in intubated on the ambulance ride.


"He was suffering, and also I couldn"t watch it," she said. "I"m looking in ~ him, and I simply didn"t think he was gonna do an ambulance drive in the state."


"My wife saved my life," Garbuz said. "She is a human being who solves troubles quickly, with a smile."

During the hospitalization, Adina Garbuz" biggest are afraid was that her husband would certainly wake up alone since hospital protocol forbid household members indigenous being present to avoid spreading the virus.

"You wake up up, and also you"re alone, and also who is the very first thing you want to see, is your family," she said.


Thanks to images of his household in his hospital room, Garbuz stated he "was able come look at them every single day. Mine goal to be to go home."

His wife tearfully recalled the first conversation they had actually when Garbuz wake up up native his coma.

"All he cared about was his family,"" Adina Garbuz said. "The an initial words he said to me was, "I love you." That"s it."

He was additionally thankful for the initiatives of his doctors and also nurses in his recovery.


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"They simply did an absolutely splendid job. Countless nurses came into the room, and they really were really compassionate," that said. "There to be one human being in particular. She said, "Lawrence, i was praying for you.""


Over the past few weeks, Garbuz has concentrated on improving his health and also has no paid attention to the media frenzy around him being among the an initial patients to obtain coronavirus.

His children additionally expressed her gratitude for she dad"s recovery.

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"This is similar to a wonder for every one of us," daughter Ella said. "It was obviously very, really scary, and we didn"t understand what was going come happen. To have actually him home has been substantial for us."


Maura Hohman is a Brooklyn-based employee editor and reporter for this particular day Digital who joined the team early in the coronavirus pandemic. If she happy writes around a variety of topics, indigenous pop society to politics, she has actually a unique interest in in-depth health coverage, particularly COVID-19 research, women"s health and also racial health disparities.


Scott Stump is a brand-new Jersey-based freelancer who has actually been a continuous contributor because that buzzpatterson.com due to the fact that 2011, producing news stories and also features across the trending, popular music culture, sports, parents, pets, health, style, food and also TMRW verticals. He has actually tackled every assignment indigenous interviewing astronauts ~ above the International room Station to jail inmates training service dogs for armed forces veterans.