TULSA, Okla. — After David Mangan and his wife Rachel flew home from Denver in early March, both found out they had COVID-19. In the next month, they would donate blood and plasma, and meet the president.
David and Rachel flew home form a ski trip in Denver on March 7. Upon arriving, they joined another couple at a surprise party that had roughly 30 people. Their symptoms didn't start for another couple days.
David's symptoms were slight to moderate, but Rachel's were much worse. The couple tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after, and had to alert everyone who was at the party that they were potentially exposed.
“Everybody thinks, ‘certainly I’m not going to get it, I couldn’t have gotten it, I just got the flu,’” David said. “My wife had moderate to severe symptoms. She was in bed moaning, she couldn’t get out of bed, she felt horrible, and for me just watching that was worse than the physical symptoms I had.”
The couple they initially joined both contracted the virus, and gave it to their 12-year-old. David says without getting his test, he would have overlooked his slight symptoms, and could have accidentally infected many others.
After testing positive, David and Rachel donated blood for research in a Cincinnati children's hospital, which is doing a study with a hospital in Arkansas.
After they recovered, the the couple donated plasma for recovering patients - a growing option to possibly aid recovery in current patients.
Just weeks later, they got an invitation to share their story at the White House with Vice President Pence. Upon arriving, they got a visit from the vice president, along with President Trump in the Cabinet Room.
"Even without the president being there, just walking into that room and knowing the historical context of the place where you are standing is pretty amazing,” David said.
The couple joined six others, who all told their stories of recovering from the virus. David says the president visited with the group for 45 minutes without any press, and by the time he was due to talk, it was like speaking with a friend.
“We really had a unique camaraderie, because we had all been through the experience together," David said. "It was nice to share our stories, and really for us this was the first non-family human interaction we had in a month.”
The lesson David takes from his experiences is even the slightest symptoms, like his, should be taken seriously. He says anyone can accidentally spread the virus, and everyone needs to do their part before they get sick.
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.
Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox. Select from these options: Breaking News, Severe Weather, School Closings, Daily Headlines and Daily Forecasts.