Idaho man who ‘thought virus would go away’ after election now has long COVID and will need oxygen for the rest of his life

  • A man who thought the coronavirus would ‘go away’ after the election realized he was wrong.
  • Paul Russell told the Idaho statesman he was a “conspiracy theorist” until he was infected.
  • He has been hospitalized, can no longer work and has said he will need oxygen for the rest of his life.

A man who thought the coronavirus would “disappear the day after the election” has been hospitalized for more than two weeks with the virus and has said he will now need medical oxygen for the rest of his life.

Paul Russell, 63, of Boise, Idaho, told the Idaho Statesman: “Before I fell with the virus, I was one of those assholes who thought the virus would go away the day after the election. I was one of those conspiracy theorists. “

But he was in hospital a week after the Nov. 3 election with the coronavirus, statesman’s Audrey Dutton reported.

Russell said he was returning from his job as a long-haul trucker when he started to feel unwell and quarantined himself at his home in a trailer he owns with his wife.

He had a test that came back positive, and a few days later he started to feel so bad that he asked his wife to take him to the hospital, where he received intensive care.

A nurse put him on the phone with his wife, and Russell told her she told him how much she loved him, “because she didn’t know if I was going to spend the night.”


In total, he spent 16 days at St Luke’s Boise Medical Center, the Statesman reported.

He also signed up for a clinical trial to test the effects of an immunosuppressive drug on the virus. He was able to go home on Thanksgiving Day and have dinner with his family: “It was the best Thanksgiving I have ever had.”

But Russell said he was still living with the effects of the virus.

He said, “I’m going to be on oxygen for the rest of my life, according to my doctor.”

Russell added: “Life is not good right now. Except for one thing: I am alive.”

Some people infected with the coronavirus continue to experience symptoms for weeks and months afterward, in what is known as the “long COVID”. Symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, pain, and memory problems.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control, “patients can show symptoms that can last for weeks or even months after recovery from acute illness.”

And he notes that some people suffer from “more serious long-term complications,” including inflammation of the heart muscle, depression and anxiety. A study published in February found that 76% of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Wuhan, China had at least one symptom of the virus six months after their first illness.

This puts additional strain on health systems already overwhelmed by the treatment of patients infected with the virus.