As health officials on Thursday were rejoicing over a potential medical breakthrough in the search for a COVID-19 vaccine, one survivor of the coronavirus may have already found an effective over-the-counter treatment for the respiratory illness that has caused a global pandemic. While scientists were holed up in laboratories across the world hard at work, a hospital staffer in New York City who tested positive for COVID-19 took it upon himself to go the natural route while trying to get well.
Raeburn Fairweather, a respiratory therapist at Brooklyn’s Maimonides Medical Center, looked to his Jamaican roots to find what turned out to be an effective treatment for the 47-year-old to get over his case of the coronavirus. He told the New York Post that he had a fever of 104 degrees and “immense” headaches along with other symptoms like heavy coughs and the loss of senses of smell and taste. That was until, the Post reported, “he treated himself with traditional Caribbean home remedies made with turmeric, garlic and ginger.”
It took Fairweather exactly two weeks before he learned on Monday that he had tested positive for the respiratory illness that is responsible for more than 245,000 cases and more than 6,000 deaths in the U.S. More than 2,500 of those fatalities have occurred in New York. He has already returned to work.
Of course, there was the chance that Fairweather was one of the lucky ones (if you can call a 104-degree fever lucky) who only experienced mild symptoms compared to those who needed to be hospitalized with more severe cases. There were no reports about him having any pre-existing conditions. He said he isolated himself in a separate room in his Brooklyn home he shares with his wife and 11-year-old son and consumed the West Indian elixir that he just might want to consider bottling up and marketing as a holistic option for COVID-19 treatment.
Fairweather followed official guidelines for treating himself at home, an act that likely allowed another person more severely struck by the coronavirus to be hospitalized as the city’s number of beds available for patients was rapidly expiring. It was unclear how Fairweather contracted the coronavirus, but his triumphant story is an uncommon one during a pandemic created uncertainty among health officials and civilians alike.
Part of that uncertainty has been stoked by the ineffective leadership of President Donald Trump, who had repeatedly downplayed the coronavirus as a “hoax” before reversing course and sounding the alarm, albeit one that was delayed by weeks if not months. His confusing commentary about the coronavirus continued Thursday when he almost seemed to try to shame hospitals for demanding more medical supplies like masks to both treat patients as well as protect themselves.
Last week, a stimulus package passed as the latest phase in treating the coronavirus pandemic and the economic turmoil it’s causing. As part of the package, more hospitals and medical professionals are to be sent personal protective equipment. The state of New York is expectedly receiving a lot of the gear, such as masks and ventilators, considering it’s the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in America.
Trump took this devastating situation and blamed the state and medical professionals for never being “satisfied” with the supplies the federal government is sending. “It wouldn’t matter if you got ten times what was needed, it would never be good enough,” Trump tweeted in part. “Unlike other states, New York unfortunately got off to a late start. You should have pushed harder. Stop complaining & find out where all of these supplies are going. Cuomo working hard!”
It’s shocking that Trump said New York “got off to a late start” considering it took weeks for him to start taking the coronavirus seriously. One of his first statements about it came in January: “We have it totally under control,” he said before he added, “It’s one person coming in from China.”
Those tweets from Trump came after he suggested medical staff were stealing medical supplies at New York City hospitals. Mayor Bill de Blasio called Trump’s words “insulting” and “outrageous,” according to New York Post.
Earlier in the day, it was reported that a potential coronavirus vaccine had been created in a University of Pittsburgh lab. While the news was promising, there would be no instant gratification like Fairweather’s “traditional Caribbean home remedies” as human clinical trials “could start in the coming months,” according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.