MGH doctors, both COVID-19 positive, talk about struggle to recover

BOSTON — Dr. Jag Singh, a Massachusetts General Hospital cardiologist and Harvard Medical School professor, had never missed a day of work in his life — until he contracted COVID-19.

After eight days of fevers and body aches, the 55-year-old thought he was getting better.

Instead, he got worse, suffering from shortness of breath and coughing. His wife, Noopur Raje, an oncologist at MGH, had been caring for him in quarantine. She too tested positive for the coronavirus but was asymptomatic.

“I’ve seen bad X-rays many a time, but this looked REALLY bad,” Singh said of his chest X-ray. "It showed that both my lungs were completely whited-out.”

Healthy, with no preexisting conditions, Singh was admitted to intensive care and prepared himself for the possibility of being put on a ventilator. He only spoke to family through FaceTime and said the nursing staff was his lifeline.

“I feel like a bit of a draft dodger - falling ill just when I was needed to be at the front line,” Singh said.

A month later, he’s recovering at home but still struggles to catch his breath after walking up a flight of stairs.

His wife posted a series of Twitter messages that quickly had thousands of likes. Her frank discussion of how difficult it was for two healthy doctors to deal with the outbreak resonated with many.

“The scariest part of this disease, I think there are so many people out there who are probably COVID positive and asymptomatic and that’s how the community transmission occurs,” Singh said. He believes widespread testing is the key to getting everyone “back to normal.”

“We really need to ferret out the individuals who are COVID positive and asymptomatic because that is going to be a potential source for a potential resurgence of the disease down the line," he said.

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