Uniquely connected coronavirus survivors weigh in on President Trump's actions

Kemberly Richardson Image
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
COVID survivors weigh in on President Trump's actions
Kemberley Richardson interviews COVID patients and their reaction to President Trump's controversial comments about the virus.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- In the wake of President Donald Trump's bout with COVID-19 and his controversial comments and actions upon his release and return to the White House, coronavirus survivors and family members of those who have died are offering a unique perspective on the situation.

And that includes two survivors with a unique connection.

"It's unfortunate it took something so bad as COVID to make something like this happen, but at least some good came out of this," survivor Scott Cohen said.

On March 31, Cohen ended up in the hospital and on a ventilator for 10 days. At the same time, his father Charles was also diagnosed with COVID-19 but lost his battle April 11.

Related: Trump, contagious at White House, back to downplaying COVID-19

The turning point for Scott was convalescent plasma, and his donor, Abbie Park, had been diagnosed with COVID on March 12.

They reunited for the first time Tuesday outside of the New York Blood Center.

"Hearing your story is heart wrenching and uplifting and sad and happy and all that combined," Park said.

They are coming together at a time when many medical experts and President Trump couldn't be further apart when it comes to the disease.

"Don't let it dominate you," Trump said in a video after his release. "Don't be afraid of it."

Cohen somewhat agrees, even as he still feels the effects of COVID, a constant cough due to severe acid reflux.

He believes the president was misunderstood.

"I don't think he meant don't fear this because it's not going to hurt you," he said. "I think he meant, and I tell people, yes, you need to wear a mask, but you need to live your life."

Related: Trump halts COVID-19 relief talks until after 2020 election

Park believes Trump is putting people at risk.

"I think it's dangerous to talk like that," she said. "He's in an early phase. My symptoms change from day to day."

She recovered at home, but about 10 days in, she considered going to the ER.

Both experiences have been much different from that of Trump, who is one of less than 10 people in the U.S. to receive a specific antibody cocktail outside of a clinical trial.

And when he returned to the White House, he took his mask off, walking inside with others around. Cohen says anyone who does that is selfish.

"We all need to come together, help each other," he said. "Because if we stand divided, we will all fall."

WATCH: Eyewitness to a Pandemic

Suddenly, the brutal death of George Floyd while in the custody of police officers in Minneapolis filled the streets of a nation with rage and sorrow. New York was no different. Protesters put the fear of the virus aside and took to the streets by the thousands. Abandoning the safety and comfort of social distance, to demand social change.


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