Fedkowskyj, a member of Community Board 5, Community Education Council District 24 and formerly a Queens representative on the Panel for Educational Policy, started feeling symptoms on March 28, including fevers and shortness of breath.
His wife and his two daughters also had symptoms of the novel coronavirus, though they felt better within a few days. By April 2, however, Fedkowskyj’s symptoms had not improved, despite being a healthy 53-year-old with no underlying conditions.
“I couldn’t say three words without coughing,” he said.
He called his primary physician, who urged him to go to the hospital because his oxygen levels were dropping. Fedkowskyj, who knew city hospitals were already overburdened, instead went to NYU Langone Winthrop in Mineola.
The hospital was able to get his oxygen levels back up, and started him on the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine. By the next morning, he felt better, but still had trouble breathing.
A few days later, he said the side effects were beginning to offset any benefits.
“I honestly felt if I continued this medication, it would kill me before the virus did,” he said.
Doctors took him off the drug and onto another medication. By Sunday, the fevers had stopped, and he developed some lung capacity. Fedkowskyj said doctors told him he was lucky.
“No matter your age or health condition, this virus can and will attack you if the opportunity presents itself,” he said.
Now that he’s recovering at home, Fedkowskyj said he believes the government needs to be better prepared for the next pandemic. Hospitals were not equipped with enough protective equipment, and Queens does not have enough hospital beds.
“It’s not a matter of if one may come, but when, and government needs to be proactive and not reactive,” he said. “It will save lives.”