The attorney at the center of the coronavirus outbreak in New Rochelle, New York, has emerged from his coma, as was reported Wednesday by the JTA.
Lawrence Garbuz “is awake and alert and seems to be on the road to full recovery,” his wife, Adina, said in a post on Facebook. She has not seen him in person, but communicated through FaceTime.
Adina Garbuz said her husband had no idea what was wrong with him when he awoke, and asked her to make sure that others were aware of his illness so they would not get it, unaware of the community’s lockdown.
JTA reported that a one-mile containment zone has been set up around New Rochelle with the hope of slowing down the spread of COVID-19.
“Realizing now that it is widespread, he is trying to comprehend a world where no one goes out, no social gatherings, no religious services, no Purim!! But he seems to be quickly adding it all up,” she wrote.
Originally diagnosed with pneumonia, Garbuz had been on a ventilator since March 1, The New York Times reported.
JTA reported that Adina Garbuz and two of her children, as well as a neighbor who drove her husband to the hospital, all contracted COVID-19.
Here is Adina Lewish Garbuz’s statement that was posted on Facebook:
“It is with tremendous gratitude to God and boundless gratefulness to all of you around the world from all religions, cultures, and faiths who have prayed for my husband, I share very joyous news. Lawrence is awake and alert and seems to be on the road to full recovery. He still has healing to do but is on a very good trajectory. I would have waited longer to share but since so many of you have been on this journey with me, my family and my community asking and waiting to hear, I felt I could not hold off any longer.
As he woke up, true to his nature, within hours of being extubated, he spoke his first words to me which were “I love you so much!” – probably the sweetest moment of my life. He then immediately asked if I , his kids, his mom, my parents, and all of the family was okay. He had no idea what was wrong with him but that is all he ever cares about on any day so no surprises there.
Now aware of his diagnosis, he first worries about spreading the virus to others. His second worry is about when he will get to see his family. He wants me to make sure to make others aware so they don’t get it. With a smile in my mind I responded: “Don’t worry, others have been working on this- it’s not your worry”. Realizing now that it is widespread, he is trying to comprehend a world where no one goes out, no social gatherings, no religious services, no Purim!! But he seems to be quickly adding it all up.
For us, a most torturous part was knowing he was waking up confused and disoriented and with no loved one by his side. Heartbreaking- I couldn’t envision any of us getting through it. But he has been brave and we were lucky that we could Facetime with him, which made an awful thing somewhat easier. As saddened as I was, there was no one to blame but coronavirus. Hospitals and medical staff are being taxed more than ever and they are trying their very best to keep their patients, medical personnel and all of us safe. So I just thank them for the dedication and commitment and I particularly thank all of those who are so compassionately caring for him despite the scare around them. Please be kind and understanding of all medical professionals who are suffering the same as us yet with a greater burden.
We all must continue to pray and send positive energy to so many who still need it. So many are or will become ill from this. They all have my and my family’s personal prayers for strength and recovery very soon.
Anyone who is familiar with my community knows they are incredible people on a regular day but the way, as a community, we have handled this very difficult situation has been exemplary. We have all stayed in touch through social media, infrastructure to help each other was set up in an instant, even a medical task force internally was put in place. By doing this all together, we are not only all stronger but feel more connected than ever. As someone who was born and raised here, I have never been prouder to be part of this great New Rochelle community.
Now that we, as a family, can see a light at the end of the tunnel, my family- even children- are all on board to offer what we can to medical research to see if it can help bring a cure or stop the damage of this virus. I truly hope we can be of help.
Coronavirus does not discriminate- at this time, we are all just human beings facing this all together. Feelings of good will and wanting to help one another hopefully is the silver lining of this trying situation we, meaning the whole world, have found ourselves in.