Atlanta woman says coronavirus left her fighting to breathe

On Friday, March 13, 2020, Juli St George posted a video on her Facebook page, celebrating finding "the mother lode of toilet paper" at a local Atlanta grocery store.

In the video, the 45-year-old Atlanta realtor is smiling, showing no sign of illness. Forty-eight hours later, St George says, she was was feverish and fighting to breathe.

“Sunday night, in the middle of the night, I took myself to the ER because my fever was 103, and I couldn't breathe," she says.

At Emory Hospital, St George says, they took blood, swabbed her nose for COVID-19, and a doctor ordered a chest x-ray.

The x-rayshowed a small amount of collapsing around the bottom of her lungs.

St George, who has no underlying health problems, says her breathing had turned raspy and raw.

"The only think I have to compare it, is, it sounded like the death rattle that my grandfather went through before he passed," she says.  "It was a deep rattle inside my lungs, and I couldn't take even a small breath."

The feeling of not being able to catch her breath was terrifying.

"I didn't know if I was going to come out of the hospital," she remembers. "I sent my wife Lauren a text in the middle of the night.  I was crying.  So, I'm one of the lucky ones; I'm getting better."

The doctor, she says, told her she had a "textbook case" of COVID-19, adding "well, if there was a textbook on it."

St George went home and quarantined herself in a guest bedroom, locking the door so their two-year-old and five-year-old boys couldn't come in to see her.

Her wife delivered meals to her door.

After eight days, St George says her fever finally lifted, but the cough still lingers.

"The cough, excuse me, the cough is non-stop," she says. "I had a fever, body aches and pains, like a regular flu. But, the cough is no joke. It's every few minutes. I can have a conversation now.  The first week or so, I couldn't even talk.  Because every time I tried to talk, I would just go into a deep coughing fit."

St George says she has been through the flu before, and was even diagnosed with H1N1 flu a decade ago.

This virus, she says, is different.

"I don't have any other advice, other than stay home," St George says.  "It's for real. It's not a joke.  This is a worldwide pandemic, and they're telling you to stay home for a reason.  So, please listen to them."

It's been three weeks since St George was swabbed for COVID-19. She still has not received her results. Her doctor has told her the cough could linger for weeks.