Former reporter recovers from COVID-19 in Norfolk: ‘It’s not a hoax’


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – From the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, to the destructive waters of Storm Sandy, to real estate scams in Queens, Debbie Cohen covered stories – big and small – in her hometown of the city for eight years from New York.

Cohen decided it was time to change careers.

She moved to Virginia Beach in 2017 and enrolled at Regent University. At the School of Government, she obtained two masters: one with a specialization in health care policy, the other in national security affairs and cybersecurity.

(Photo courtesy: Debbie Cohen)

Hampton Roads is far from living in the Big Apple, but Cohen enjoyed the family atmosphere of Regent University, swimming by the ocean, kayaking at First Landing State Park, and long walks along the ocean. Atlantic.

The pandemic slowed her efforts to find a job in her new field, but she got temporary positions that allowed her to work from home.

Earlier this year, she considered getting vaccinated against the potentially life-saving coronavirus, but decided against doing so due to her history of allergies. Another complication was that she was hit by a car while walking in a parking lot along Indian River Road.

(Photo courtesy: Debbie Cohen)

Three weeks ago, a friend Cohen and his wife contracted the coronavirus. Cohen and his wife survived but the man was killed by COVID-19.

Cohen spent two weeks at Sentara Princess Anne Hospital where she was treated with the drug Remdesivir. Last week she was transferred to Consulate Health Norfolk, where she is seen by a doctor three times a week and is visited by a nurse four to five times a week. She said she suffered from COVID-pneumonia, which left her too weak to even walk. She stays on oxygen, steroids and antibiotics.

10 On Your Side first introduced Cohen to the public last week when she cried out for help when, in sweltering temperatures, the air conditioning system failed in part of consulate health care building at 3900 Llewellyn Avenue in Norfolk. Technicians and city officials responded and the problem was corrected, according to the city.

Last week, Cohen said she felt like COVID-19 was killing her. This week, that fear persists.

“This COVID is real, it really brings you down,” Cohen said in a taped Zoom interview.

In the interview, Cohen puffed up his long blonde locks and explained what it was like to suffer from pleurisy, which is an inflammation of the membranes around the lungs.

“I always feel like I can’t breathe… I’m dying of COVID… I know everyone is praying for me… churches, family of friends and school. It takes your breath away and you try to catch your breath and catch your breath, but it’s impossible, ”she said.

She has a tip for vaccine hesitants: “Don’t do what I did. ”

“I am going to get the vaccine and I am warning everyone that this is not a hoax. Help our children help your grandchildren, ”implored Cohen.

She is also frustrated with how the pandemic has been politicized and the proliferation of conspiracy theories.

“I want to tell everyone this is not a government conspiracy. The vaccine does not contain chips or fetal tissue, ”Cohen said. “It doesn’t matter whether you are a liberal, a libertarian, a republican or a democrat, this [the virus] does not discriminate.

Cohen is awaiting more details on his prognosis for the lung disorder. Until then, she relies on those close to her, including a professor at Regent University, who offered her prayers.

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