CORAL GABLES, Fla. – A flight attendant for a major airline is battling the coronavirus and chronicling his experience firsthand.
Wednesday made 10 days that Jorge Merelles was in the hospital, but it was also his last.
He returned to his Coral Gables apartment and spoke with Local 10 News' Roy Ramos, describing his journey battling COVID-19 as brutal, but also saying he believes getting treatment early saved his life.
“This is very serious,” Merelles said. “Time is crucial. Within 24 hours, I did it and here I am to tell the story.”
Merellas, 64, told Local 10 News he believes he contracted the virus during an eight and a half hour flight from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Miami.
"There was a lot of people that were unprotected, and you could tell they were very ill on the flight," he said. "They were trying to make it back to the United States."
The flight touched down at Miami International Airport on March 15. Within a week, Merelles was in the emergency room.
"I started to feel shortness of breath, migraine headaches, and also chest pains," he said.
While Merelles said he was never on a ventilator, he was constantly on oxygen and received a number of antibiotics.
After being released and taken home, he had a message for those who believe they may have contracted COVID-19.
"Don’t be embarrassed or afraid to seek medical help," he said. "Go the emergency room. This is very serious."
Merelles will now remain in quarantine for 14 days to make sure he no longer has the virus.