Coronavirus patients describe symptoms: "The fever is so high that you hallucinate"

Coronavirus patients describe symptoms
Coronavirus patients describe symptoms 05:19

Last Updated Mar 17, 2020 1:38 PM EDT

People who have contracted the coronavirus have described symptoms including high fevers, a dry cough, and shortness of breath. While symptoms may differ from person to person, more than 79,000 people worldwide have recovered from the virus, according to experts at Johns Hopkins University.

A.N., who preferred to only be identified by her initials, described a bout with COVID-19 that's lasted for more than two weeks.

"Excuse me, but it feels like hell. I've had the flu before, it's not even comparable. The fever is so high that you hallucinate," she said. "I'm still having a fever, but it's coming down slowly. I'm only at about 100.8 at the moment, which is a dramatic improvement."

Initially treated at a Seattle area hospital in early March, she was not offered a test for COVID-19, but said the medical staff were concerned.

"I could see them through the window when they were preparing to come in, and they were utterly panicked, and they had no idea what they were doing. It was unnerving to be completely honest," she said.

From home, A.N. dialed into a telehealth appointment and was promptly told to report to a clinic, where she was swabbed in her vehicle and confirmed for COVID-19 in under 24 hours.

"It was like a weight off my shoulders, honestly. It was like, 'I'm not crazy,'" she said.

Across the country and still hospitalized in Rome, Georgia, Clay Bentley used a baseball analogy to describe his current state of health.

"I felt like today that I have turned third base and I'm headed home," he said.

His symptoms developed a day after singing with his church choir two weeks ago, he said. Diagnosed with pneumonia at a local hospital the next day, he was sent home.

"Four days later I was to a point I couldn't get out of bed," he said. "I said, 'I feel like ya'll sent me home to die,' and I said, 'I can't even hardly move and I can't breathe. I can't catch my breath.'"

Back at the hospital, he discovered that several other members of his church choir also got the virus. Now in recovery, Bentley credits faith and family.

"This has made my family very close. I mean, they can't wait for me to come home," he said. "We'll have a celebration very soon."

A feeling of isolation is a shared experience of coronavirus survivors who spoke to CBS News.  

"I had someone over this past Saturday night to play a board game and that felt great," said Elizabeth Schneider, who believes she and a number of her friends contracted coronavirus while at a party in Seattle. She tested for COVID-19 after her symptoms had subsided.

"When I had the most severe symptoms, it literally just felt like I had a different strain of the flu," she said.

With a background in molecular biology and through her own experience, she shared some advice for the anxious.

"If we look at the long term here, I think things will improve," she said. "They probably will get a little bit worse before they get better, but things will improve. Life will go on." 

Schneider is also donating her blood to be studied to possibly develop treatments or even a vaccine.