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Like Trump, SWFL COVID-19 survivor says he had experimental treatment

President Donald Trump gets the best care during his treatment for the coronavirus. A Southwest Florida survivor credits a particular treatment for saving his life, so we looked at the treatments he and the president received. We also spoke to an expert on infectious disease about symptoms of COVID-19.

When 63-year-old Ronald Rice first contracted COVID-19, his symptoms were textbook.

“At first, it was just a fever and lightheadedness, and I was really fatigued,” Rice said. “And I got a sore throat.”

Dr. Matthew Sims is the director of infectious disease research at Beaumont Health. He explained some of the different symptoms seen in COVID-19 patients after contracting it.

“The virus has three phases, basically,” Sims said. “You have what’s called the viral phase, where you get the fevers and muscle aches.”

In phase two, Sims said the virus gets into your lungs.

“When I went in on the 5th, I had developed COVID pneumonia,” Rice said.

Then, right on cue, Rice hit phase three. “My blood pressure was 80 over 40, which is close to being dead,” he said.

“Your own immune system is attacking you because it’s so overcharged by the virus,” Sims said.

If Rice continued down the predictable path, he knew what was next. His brother had already died of COVID-19.

So he took a chance and agreed to an experimental treatment: convalescent plasma.

“Within two days, I started seeing the results of the plasma,” Rice said. “Within three or four days, they were able to send me home.”

Rice isn’t alone. After testing positive for COVID-19, Trump started using experimental treatments such as remdesivir and Regeneron.

“There’s a number of treatments that are being used right now. And then there’s a lot of experimental treatments. And with President Trump, they’ve done a number of all of those,” Sims said.

Now, he’s heading home to the White House.

“I truly believe that, doing experimental stuff, there’s nothing wrong with it,” Rice said. “It helps the next guy.”

Reporter:Veronica Marshall
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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