‘I almost passed out’: Man battles new health issues after COVID-19 recovery



This time last year, Pat McEvoy was climbing mountains, running miles and seeking adventure. Now the Omaha, Nebraska, man faces a new challenge.”I’m two months in at this point and time and I’m still 80% lung function,” McEvoy said.He tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of June. He’s young, in shape and said he had no pre-existing health conditions.”My blood oxygen was super, super low, to the point I was on the verge of whether they would admit me or not,” McEvoy said.He said he didn’t need to go to the hospital, and was cleared of the virus within two weeks, but the damage is still there. He said his heart was swollen, his lungs are scarred and all the cardio activities he used to do, he can’t do right now.”I tried to walk 2 miles a month in and I almost passed out in a stranger’s front lawn,” he said.Dr. Mark Rupp is an infectious diseases expert with Nebraska Medicine and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He said chronic symptoms can go on for weeks and months after having COVID-19.”The CDC released some data a few weeks back that indicated a full third of people out three or four weeks still weren’t back to normal,” he said.Dr. Rupp said older people or those with other health conditions tend to have longer recoveries, but he’s seeing younger people struggle, too.”It’s unknown whether folks are going to have permanent disability from this. It just indicates to me even more that you want to do everything you can to prevent this illness,” he said.McEvoy said he was super careful, always wearing a mask and washing his hands, but still caught the virus.He said he’s slowly getting better. Doctors tell him that because of the lung scarring, there’s a “decent chance” he’ll permanently lose 5 to 10% of lung capacity.McEvoy said losing some of his lung capacity won’t be as noticeable in daily activities, but when he’s back to adventuring, it’ll be different.”I’ll still be able to do it, it’s just going to be a very different story how fast and how hard I can push myself to do it,” he said.

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This time last year, Pat McEvoy was climbing mountains, running miles and seeking adventure. Now the Omaha, Nebraska, man faces a new challenge.

“I’m two months in at this point and time and I’m still 80% lung function,” McEvoy said.

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He tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of June. He’s young, in shape and said he had no pre-existing health conditions.

“My blood oxygen [level] was super, super low, to the point I was on the verge of whether they would admit me or not,” McEvoy said.

He said he didn’t need to go to the hospital, and was cleared of the virus within two weeks, but the damage is still there. He said his heart was swollen, his lungs are scarred and all the cardio activities he used to do, he can’t do right now.

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“I tried to walk 2 miles a month in and I almost passed out in a stranger’s front lawn,” he said.

Dr. Mark Rupp is an infectious diseases expert with Nebraska Medicine and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He said chronic symptoms can go on for weeks and months after having COVID-19.

“The CDC released some data a few weeks back that indicated a full third of people out three or four weeks still weren’t back to normal,” he said.

Dr. Rupp said older people or those with other health conditions tend to have longer recoveries, but he’s seeing younger people struggle, too.

“It’s unknown whether folks are going to have permanent disability from this. It just indicates to me even more that you want to do everything you can to prevent this illness,” he said.

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McEvoy said he was super careful, always wearing a mask and washing his hands, but still caught the virus.

He said he’s slowly getting better. Doctors tell him that because of the lung scarring, there’s a “decent chance” he’ll permanently lose 5 to 10% of lung capacity.

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McEvoy said losing some of his lung capacity won’t be as noticeable in daily activities, but when he’s back to adventuring, it’ll be different.

“I’ll still be able to do it, it’s just going to be a very different story how fast and how hard I can push myself to do it,” he said.



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