© 2023 All Rights reserved WUSF
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida and WUSF can help. Our responsibility at WUSF News is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

Surviving COVID-19: Tampa Man Recovers From Virus More Determined To Protect Family

COVID-19 Survivor Mike Thors
Stephanie Colombini
Mike Thors of Tampa said he's not ready to let down his guard about the pandemic. He said he's watching the numbers carefully and won't feel comfortable until there is a progressive decline in cases.

"It's interesting because obviously since I had it, I'm less at risk, but I feel like I've been more concerned about it, especially for my wife, or my family or my kids getting it."

More than 750,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Florida since March. Health News Florida talked to some of the survivors about what it was like to have the illness and how it's changed their lives.

Today we hear from Mike Thors of Tampa. He recovered from COVID-19 at home, but describes the pain he felt like "knives stabbing him" and said he's still dealing with shortness of breath months later.

Thors suspects he got the virus in July when he and a few relatives got together at his sister's home:

“My sister got it [COVID-19], and my dad got it. We got together one weekend, just a few of us. And that's where we assume that it came from, but we don't even know for sure, because we didn't have any contact tracing or anything that was done. I mean, I got my results 18 days after the test, so, you know, it’s not really effective contact tracing.

And it's sad to not think I can see my family, that should be pretty safe, and they, you know, they’re not being dangerous with exposure. And she felt horrible, my sister. And that’s another thing, it’s like the shame that people feel for, you know, there’s nothing they can control about it.

I was very fortunate because God blessed me with a wife that was able to take care of me, because I don't know how I would have made it through it alone. Because there were days where I just didn't want to eat anything, and she was constantly coming back in.

And she had a whole routine where she had her mask on, then she’d come in with gloves on, and then give me medicine or try to get me to eat something. And then she'd go out and wash and sanitize everything. And so she was very on top of it, which was very fortunate because I know I wouldn't have gotten through it as easily as without her.

So I was, you know, very thankful for that. But just knowing that there's other people that don't have that, it's just frightening.

"It's gotten down to 'the bad.'"

It's interesting, because obviously since I had it, I'm less at risk, but I feel like I've been more concerned about it, especially for my wife, or my family or my kids getting it.

So I've been kind of even more concerned about anything that, you know, if any errands need to be done, let me do it, don’t you go, you know. And she’s dying to get out of the house in quarantine. She's been working from home since this started. So she's trying to get out of the house too, but she's being smart about it. But it's just made me more concerned for her and the rest of my family on going through it.

I'm still looking really at the numbers. The interesting thing is that when we decided to kind of like, alright, step back and quarantine from everything was when the numbers were around 2,000 cases a day. And then, you know, it went up to obviously over 10,000 and then it went back down.

And it’s great that it's going down, but it's still at that number that was when we said, ‘This is bad,’ you know. So it's gotten down to the bad.

So I'm not quite there yet until we see a progressive downward trend of the numbers.

I’m just looking forward to when this is all a thing of the past and we can be back where we were. I’m certainly going to appreciate things a lot more I think when this is all over, you know. Like right now, sitting out here in the park, I’ve been appreciating that very much you know, all the quarantine all the time inside, to get out and be able to you know, enjoy the world around you."

This story is produced in partnership with America Amplified, an initiative using community engagement to inform local journalism. It is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

I cover health care for WUSF and the statewide journalism collaborative Health News Florida. I’m passionate about highlighting community efforts to improve the quality of care in our state and make it more accessible to all Floridians. I’m also committed to holding those in power accountable when they fail to prioritize the health needs of the people they serve.