WASHINGTON — What is the coronavirus doing to the body? To find out, WUSA9 talked to a patient and a doctor.
We started with Matt Newey, a Utah man who recently recovered from COVID-19 who documented his symptoms via video.
"You wake up one morning with some weird new symptom that punches you in the face," Newey said.
Newey got the virus while on a ski trip with friends in Colorado in mid-March. He is also a photographer, so he recorded himself going through the coronavirus illness.
"Things just got weirder and weirder each day," he explained.
To understand what Newey experienced, we spoke with Dr. Amesh Adalja from Johns Hopkins University. We showed him Newey's symptoms.
"I had these horrible body aches as well. I felt like I'd done a full body workout," Newey explained.
Adalja explained what was happening to Newey's body at this point.
"As the immune system recognizes it's under attack, it starts to mobilize. It starts to secrete different chemicals, and those chemicals can make you have the aches and pain," Adalja said.
Then, came Newey's breathing issues.
"It got to the point where I felt like I was breathing through a straw," Newey said.
"So, the virus finds its way into the airways and the lung cells and it infects the cells," Adalja said. "The immune system goes to that site and attacks the cells that have been infected, that whole process is what leads to inflammation of the lungs."
Then, Adalja took a look at the more bizarre symptoms Newey experienced.
"I grabbed my sister's perfume. I couldn't smell a thing," Newey said.
He said he also couldn’t taste anything.
"We don't quite understand why people lose the sense of taste and smell," Adalja said. "It may be due to inflammation of those pathways that are responsible for those sensations."
After more than a week of intense symptoms, Newey finally started to feel better.
"It was a scary, and lonely experience, but thankfully, I was able to get better and pull through," he said, smiling over video chat.
Some of the symptoms are ones normally seen in viruses. However, the loss of senses is something new. It's one of the glaring reminders that researchers are learning about this virus as it moves through our population.