By Vince Gerasole

CHICAGO (CBS) — On Friday, more than 1,300 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed.

On Thursday, the state topped the 1,000 mark for the first time in a month. Each of those numbers represents a real human being.

And on Friday, there was good news for a person sick with the coronavirus. A long fought battle with COVID-19 ends with a victory.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole has more on the happy homecoming, 85 days in the making.

He needed a walker to help him take his first steps back home, a place he hasn’t seen since April.  But like his t-shirt says Wayne Kusta is virus-free.

“It was no fun getting COVID-19 at all. I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. I beat it,” Kusta said.

To celebrate that victory, friends and family gathered round.

“I am glad he’s home,” said Terri Kusta of Chicago Ridge.

Wayne Kusta spend a month in the ICU, unconscious on a ventilator with a feeding tube.  When that was behind him, COVID’s grip wouldn’t let go.

“I could not get a therapy going. I’d stand up and it felt like my lungs were in my throat,” Kusta said.

After six weeks in bed, came a month of physical therapy.

“Total rehab. Day after day after day,” remembered Kusta. The 63-year-old proved he was a fighter.

“You name it. They had to teach it to me. My left foot was completely numb. I didn’t think I would walk again. My right arm. I couldn’t even lift a finger,” he said.

And though she couldn’t see him for months, his wife Terri was somehow by his side.

“I couldn’t give up on him,” Terri Kusta said.

So now surrounded by those who love him, Kusta looks forward to the life his body battled to save.

Vince Gerasole