A Californian man, aged just 34, has reportedly died after contracting COVID-19 in the United States, just days after visiting Disney World and Universal Studios in Florida.
Jeffrey Ghazarian died late last week after spending five days hooked up to a ventilator while battling a respiratory disease brought on by the novel coronavirus, his family told TMZ.
According to his family, he began showing symptoms shortly after visiting Orlando for a work trip on March 2, where he stayed longer to visit the theme parks with some friends.
On March 7 he reportedly developed a cough, and the following day coughed up blood before flying back to Los Angeles on March 9.
Chest X-rays soon confirmed he had pneumonia. He was tested for COVID-19 and sent home and told to self-isolate while test results came back. Days later, the results confirmed he had the deadly disease.
Mr Ghazarian has a history of health problems, including asthma, according to a Facebook post by Lauren Ghazarian, who identified as his sister, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
A 2016 GoFundMe page and Facebook post from January that year also show Mr Ghazarian survived testicular cancer.
On March 14, he was taken to hospital in an ambulance where doctors found his lungs were 60-70 percent blocked with pneumonia, TMZ reported.
While doctors reportedly kept him on a ventilator hoping he could fight off the disease, Mr Ghazarian’s family were updating friends on Facebook about his condition, urging people to share the news and pray for their son and brother.
On Friday, AEST, the family revealed he had lost the fight.
When contacted by The Miami Herald, family member Alison Ghazarian Fleming confirmed the 34-year-old had died, but declined to comment further. She said TMZ had misrepresented the truth, but did not specify to the publication how.
“Our sweet, loving, fun Jeffrey went to be with Jesus this morning. He suffered a lot and put up a good fight. We will miss our Jeff everyday but we are thankful for all the fun happy memories of the times we had together,” the family wrote on Facebook.
“Thank you to everyone who has been praying. We love you all.”
Tragically, less than 24 hours ago the family had taken to the man’s Facebook page to express hope that he would pull through the ordeal.
“Talked with the critical care MD this evening and Jeff continues to be stable and hanging in there, thank you God. However his oxygen needs had been fluctuating quite a bit throughout the day. When they have to turn Jeff from his belly to his back,” they wrote.
The family was inundated with condolences and well wishes from friends and strangers alike following this morning’s Facebook post.
US coronavirus cases surge
The US has seen a surge in cases after it was slow to begin testing for COVID-19. In recent days, the Trump administration has significantly changed its tone on the virus, taking the outbreak much more seriously as much of the country goes into lockdown.
According to the latest figures published by the country’s Centre for Disease Control on March 19, local time, the US has had more than 10,442 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 150 reported deaths so far.
Disney World in Florida closed down on Sunday night, local time, due to the coronavirus outbreak. Universal Studios and a string of other theme parks have also closed their doors for the foreseeable future.
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