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By Shermain Bique-Charles

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St John’s Street resident Keith Dover is grateful for a second chance at life after he tested positive for Covid-19 in early April 2020 and was one of two people who were on ventilators for several months.

Dover, who many believed would not have made it, is sharing his road to recovery with the hopes that others will realise the disease is real and will treat the virus seriously.

The APUA staffer is still suffering the long-term effects of the illness and has a stark warning for those who still do not believe that the coronavirus affects younger people.

“Young people, forget about the party. Please, because it is for your own good; this is no joke. It’s here to kill,” Dover told Observer yesterday.

He still walks with a cane to aid his limbs that are not yet strong enough to support him.

“I am doing my therapy and this is a challenge. I never imagined learning to walk again would be so hard and painful. It has been a long road. Sometimes I feel like giving up but I have good family and friends around me,” he said.

Dover, who is 39 years old, is still suffering from paralysis in his lower legs and is unable to move his ankles and toes on most days.

Days before he was admitted to the Mount St John’s Medical Center, Dover, who is diabetic, said he suffered from mild flu like symptoms.

“Days leading up to the hospital I had some coughing, I lost my appetite and I lost my taste and I had headaches. I didn’t take it seriously because I figured it was just a flu. Covid-19 was new to us and I didn’t pay too much attention to it,” he recalled.

But once he was admitted and placed in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, Dover said he was in and out of consciousness.

“I had no recollection when I was in the ICU. I was fully out of it. But I remember at one point my life flashed in front of me. My mind was going and coming. I had both good and bad flashes. This thing affects you mentally…I had agreed that this was it for me. I was going to die,” he said.

Dover said one of the scariest parts of the disease is the shortness of breath. “I recalled one night I had to call out to the nurses and tell them I couldn’t breathe. That was very frightening,” he said.

The father of one said the ordeal has caused him to make what he considers to be the “best decision of his life”.

“It has brought a lot of changes in my life. It certainly has brought me closer to God. I just plan to live a good life, as good as I can be. Giving my life to Christ is a process but it has brought me closer. My faith is even stronger now,” he admitted.

To date, Antigua and Barbuda has recorded 234 Covid-19 cases, 51 of which are active, and 17 of those affected are hospitalised.

One hundred and seventy-seven persons has since recovered while seven people have died from the disease.