Body-building nurse reveals shocking transformation after battling the coronavirus

Alexandra Thompson
·5-min read
Austria, Klagenfurt, Man in fitness center training with dumbbell
Weeks on a ventilator transformed a gym fanatic's physique. (Getty Images)

A body-building nurse has revealed his shocking transformation after battling the coronavirus.

Mike Schultz, 43, from San Francisco, believes he caught the infection at a party in Miami.

While visiting his boyfriend Josh Hebblethwaite, 29, in Boston a week later, he developed a fever and breathing difficulties.

Schultz was rushed to hospital on 16 March, where he was immediately put on oxygen and sedated.

He spent weeks “pretty much in a coma”, unable to eat solid food.

Although the worst is over, the ordeal has taken its toll on Schultz’s physique.

The nurse, who has no underlying health issues, used to work out six to seven times a week and tipped the scales at 13.5 stone (190 lb).

He is slowly building up his strength, but weighs just 10 stone (140 lb).

Early research suggests the coronavirus is mild in four out of five cases, however, it can trigger a respiratory disease called COVID-19.

Schultz, who took the above left picture around a month before getting sick, told Buzzfeed News he became exhausted within just a few minutes of standing to capture his new physique.

The nurse and his DJ boyfriend went to the Miami party together, with Hebblethwaite performing a set.

Schultz claims there were “no real restrictions in place”, which resulted in at least 38 attendees catching the coronavirus and three men reportedly dying.

Within a few days, both Schultz and his boyfriend began feeling unwell, however, Hebblethwaite did not require hospital care.

Schultz was first given oxygen via his nose, then a full mask and finally he was sedated.

The nurse was moved to a bigger hospital four days later, where he was put on a ventilator for four and a half weeks.

After a few weeks, Hebblethwaite was allowed to FaceTime with him.

“It was pretty much like he was in a coma,” he told Buzzfeed News.

Schultz was eventually discharged and treated himself to a McDonald's.

Although on the mend, his sense of taste has not fully recovered and his lung capacity is still returning.

Schultz is speaking out to raise awareness that the coronavirus can affect anyone, regardless of their age or health.

“I didn’t think it was as serious as it was until after things started happening,” he said.

“I thought I was young enough for it not to affect me and I know a lot of people think that.”

What is the coronavirus?

The coronavirus is one of seven strains of a virus class that are known to infect humans.

Others cause everything from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), which killed 774 people during its 2002/3 outbreak.

Since the coronavirus outbreak was identified, more than 5 million cases have been confirmed worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Of these cases, over 1.9 million are known to have “recovered”.

Globally, the death toll has exceeded 328,300.

The coronavirus mainly spreads face to face via infected droplets expelled in a cough or sneeze.

There is also evidence it is transmitted in faeces and can survive on surfaces.

Symptoms include fever, cough and slight breathlessness.

The coronavirus has no “set” treatment, with most patients naturally fighting off the infection.

Those requiring hospitalisation are given “supportive care”, like ventilation, while their immune system gets to work.

Officials urge people ward off infection by washing their hands regularly and maintaining social distancing.

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