‘Virus stole my husband’: the story of a family of Russian-speaking immigrants infected with coronavirus

Pandemic coronavirus, especially zealously raging on the East coast of the United States, turned to a family from new Jersey Anne and Gregory Neufeld a real tragedy. They both got sick from the new virus. At the moment Anna is on the mend, while Gregory could not be saved.

'Вирус украл у меня мужа': история семьи русскоязычных иммигрантов, заразившихся коронавирусом

Anna and Gregory. Photo their archive of Anna Nayfeld

The development of the disease

“My husband was 70 years old, no chronic diseases and health problems he had, moreover, he always carefully watched. However, to comply with the quarantine, he could not – as an IT specialist, Gregory worked for a company that performs including military orders, and for this reason do not allow employees to work remotely. Last day of work was Friday, March 13. On Saturday, he felt good. Signs of a cold light appeared only on Sunday evening, July 15. Then the temperature rose to 37 degrees,” recalls Anna.

The next day, 16 March, Gregory felt that the sickness finally passed, and he was going to go to work. However, Anna felt something, talked the wife – as it turned out, in time, as the sickness resumed. In the evening the temperature Gregory rose again, there was a fever.

“On Tuesday, the 17th, we called the doctor Gregory and she prescribed some antibiotics for the flu, including me, as I also began to have a fever. The pharmacy delivered them to us and we were treated with home. The next day, Wednesday, Grisha began to have severe chills. Apart from antibiotics, we treated with vitamins and “folk remedies”: honey, lemon, tincture of rose hips. His temperature rose and then dropped again. I also had a fever, but against the condition of a husband I almost never drew attention to himself. I don’t even remember now how bad I was, was mainly only a concern for David,” says Anna.

An unexpected crisis

The sharp deterioration of Gregory came on Friday, March 20. That day he as usual sat at the computer, then got up and went to the stairs towards Anna, when suddenly the donkey on the floor. Anna rushed to her husband, helped him up, began to “unsolder” tea, Gregory took tylenol.

“He went, after some time, measured the temperature and it was unusually low – 35,5 – considering that the evening before she reached 39.3 per. Grisha was shaking, it was a real fever and he could not get warm even under three duvets. Then he began to cough and I called the ambulance,” reports Anna Neufeld.

The doctors left Gregory in the hospital while Anna was sent home. Test for coronavirus in her that day not taken. The next day Gregory was transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU) and connected to a respirator.

“Even the night before and I, and the children talked to him. However, on Saturday I got a call from the hospital and said that the level of oxygen is low, and therefore requires mechanical ventilation. I tried to learn the details, find a doctor and his location. I failed – perhaps because it was the weekend. However, then I called back nurses and nurse. They reported that, despite the fact that he is on artificial ventilation of lungs, all his organs are working properly. However, in the following days, I reported that he started having kidney problems and other difficulties,” says Anna Neufeld.

Meanwhile, as Anna was rapidly deteriorating. Along with the temperature, she began to have severe pain in the abdominal cavity. Monday, March 23, she got a call from the hospital and told her husband confirmed the coronavirus.

“Your father could not be saved”

“I had a temperature of 38.5, and the kids insisted that I also went to the hospital. We called an ambulance, and the paramedic said directly to my son: “I would not recommend your mother to go to the hospital, because if she does not have the coronavirus, where she will take it with high probability”. He added that to warn people about these consequences instruct the staff in the hospital. The impression was that this man did not know what to do, Anna said. — However, my son, Alexander, was very worried about me, given my age (65 years) and high temperature. He called on “hot line COVID-19” to the hospital, where was my husband, but no one was able to answer him convincingly, does it make sense to take me to the hospital. Worked on “a hot line” the man explained that he is not a professional medic. After consulting with the older sisters, son brought me to the hospital”.

“There’s stomach pain became quite unbearable. I was kept in the hospital until morning, cauterized, which podeystvovalo maybe half an hour, he diagnosed pneumonia, prescribed antibiotics on the basis of hydroxychloroquine and go home, warning that there remain to me more dangerous than home. Coronavirus test I never took, saying that they did not have enough test equipment. Antibiotics, by the way, I’m drinking failed due to growing pains. Son literally nursed me back to health with vitamins and fresh juices. I’m better now,” she says.

Meanwhile Gregory stayed in the hospital, and his case was getting worse.

“On the 28th of March, about 12 at night, the son called the hospital to inquire about the status of the father. He long did not answer. Then he was told that his father is trying to revive. Sasha begged, “Please, don’t give up, save him!” He called back 10 minutes later and said, “Sorry, sorry, just that your father died. Heart stopped, and we are unable to restore a pulse,” said Anna.

“It is difficult to say what exactly death occurred. I spoke with many doctors, and some of them recommended, and insisted, for example, Gregory was given an intravenous injection of vitamin C. They sent the recommended treatment protocols, but some of their components have not been included in the local protocols of the hospital, although I tried to advise their doctors. I know that the hospital recommended he put the trump hydroxychloroquine. Also, the doctors said that the cause of death was some kind of infection – perhaps she accidentally brought straight to the hospital. In any case, I don’t blame the doctors – certainly in such a situation, they try to do everything I can. And yet, due to the congestion of hospitals and shortage of medicines and equipment, I would recommend to anyone who is not in critical condition, try to heal yourself at home,” concludes Anna.

According to her, the company which employed her husband, all transferred employees on remote work, which definitely could save some lives. Anna, meanwhile, is on the mend, trying at the same time, with the help of the son, and to cope with the disease, and to survive his great loss.


Russian-speaking immigrants

Our people


Special projects