CHICAGO (CBS) — The numbers are hard to hear – on Tuesday, the State of Illinois announced 73 new deaths from the coronavirus.
But it is important to remember that COVID-19 is not a death sentence. There are many stories of survival.
A West Rogers Park husband and father of six shared his story of survival with CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot.
“The symptoms really snowballed from a low-grade fever to a 102 fever, to body aches, dizziness, really the inability to be anywhere but bed,” said Ira Piltz.
Piltz still had a cough as of Tuesday. He was diagnosed with COVID-19, on March 20.
At that time when he tested positive, Piltz said he felt le he had been “hit by a truck.”
When he learned someone in his community passed away from COVID-19, two Saturdays ago, that made him question his own mortality.
“That night, I lied in bed and cried, because I’m 47 years old with six children,” Piltz said. “My family depends on me and this thing is killing people!”
Piltz said he believes he could have been exposed to COVID-19 at any of the recent gatherings he’s attended. He says he lives in the largest Orthodox Jewish community in Chicago.
“Our community, like many faith-based communities, is very intertwined. Our kids play with each other in and out of school. We are there for each other. We support each other, and our general inclination, as a community, is to be there for each other in tough times,” Piltz said. “One of the things making this so hard in our community is the only way to beat this thing, is to not actually physically be there for each other.”
Piltz credits his community, his wife Beverley, six children and his faith, with helping him pull through this illness.
“The next hardest thing for me, was not being able to hug my wife or children,” he said. “To not be able to be with them at all was literally a seventh level of hell!”
Piltz said the key to his recovery was rest and isolation to protect those he loves.
The 60645 ZIP code, which includes most of West Rogers Park, has seen the greatest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city with a total of 247 as of Tuesday.