Staten Island high school principal returns home after 40-day battle with COVID

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Michelle Charlesworth Image
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
NYC high school principal returns home after 40-day bout with COVID
Principal Michael Cosentino, just 35 years old, left the hospital in a wheelchair and on oxygen after a harrowing battle with COVID.

WEST BRIGHTON, Staten Island (WABC) -- A high school principal on Staten Island is finally home from the hospital after a harrowing fight with COVID.

Principal Michael Cosentino, just 35 years old, left the hospital in a wheelchair and on oxygen.

He was cheered on by staff members, parents and students, who gathered there to surround him as he went home.

"Indescribable -- words fail me it just means the world to me that everyone came to rally around me," Cosentino said.

The principal of Saint Peter's Boys High School went into the hospital 40 days ago on June 12 and was moved to the ICU within four days. He stresses, but above all, he is grateful.

RELATED | 'Fair choice': NYC health workers must get vaccine or test weekly

While many have stepped up, the number of unvaccinated hospital workers remains a concern.

"I am grateful to God that I'm here, I'm grateful to the staff, it's unbelievable -- the nursing staff brought me back to life," he said.

Cosentino could not breathe on his own for weeks and was on a ventilator. Eyewitness News asked if the principal had been vaccinated.

"I don't believe so," said Dr. Keith Diaz. "Definitely one of the most severely ill patients we have seen."

One doctor made it extremely clear. People need to be vaccinated - it is literally lifesaving.

"Of course, this is a reminder about vaccination, that is the first thing to say," Chief of Cardiology Dr. Francesco Rotatori said.

He pointed out that his staff was attuned to every shifting and tiny detail in saving Cosentino's life.

"The combination of factors to make this happen - this walk out of the hospital happen - is just incredible," Rotatori said.

ALSO READ | Mask compliance falls in NYC subway stations as COVID infection rate rises

MTA officials have been watching the trend for the past several weeks. Fewer people are wearing face coverings in the New York City transit system.

What is next for Cosentino? Weeks of rest at home with his wife and four daughters, but first -- his eldest daughter's 9th birthday.

"Just being with my wife and kids -- to me that's all I cared about -- that's all I was thinking about just getting back and it's my daughter's birthday tomorrow," Cosentino said.

So much to celebrate.

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