David Lat has been transferred out of the intensive care unit, taken off a ventilator that had been his lifeline for a week while battling COVID-19, and wrote on Saturday night in a Facebook post that “I’m doing worlds better than I was this time … last week.”
“I was just transferred out of the ICU—to a floor that’s not nearly as nice, but the transfer bodes well because they save ICU beds for the sickest patients,” wrote Lat, the founder of the legal blog Above the Law, in a Facebook post that appeared at 9:11 p.m. and that was accompanied by a joyous video of his young son strumming a mini-guitar and singing.
“I’m doing worlds better than … when I was unconscious and intubated, having a machine breathe for me because I couldn’t do so myself,” wrote Lat, 44, in a six-paragraph public post that quickly drew nearly 500 comments from friends and well-wishers by late Saturday night.
Still, Lat—who today, in a new act after years of running Above the Law, is a legal recruiter and speaker—was cautious about how he will fare in the days to come, given that he’s been at war for weeks with a severe and potentially deadly case of the novel coronavirus.
He began his post by writing, “I don’t want to be presumptuous, since my condition is stable but still serious,” and added that “I’m not out of the proverbial woods yet.”
He then explained that “a number of patients released from the hospital after seemingly successful fights with #Covid19 aka #coronavirus have been readmitted (and some of these patients have even died).”
And he noted that “I require 24/7 oxygen, I need a nurse’s help for even the simplest tasks, and I only just now progressed to solid foods.”
But the reason for his post, he made clear, was that “I do have some good news to share,” laying out his transfer from the ICU and other improvements.
Lat, a Yale Law School graduate and former federal prosecutor, then thanked the many who have been following his fight with a major COVID-19 infection, and who have posted emotional messages of support via Twitter and Facebook as news reports and social media posts about him have emerged.
“No matter how my story ends, I know that I will be forever thankful for all of the prayers and thoughts that you have sent me and my family over the past few weeks,” Lat wrote in his Facebook post. He added, “I will also be eternally grateful to all the wonderful doctors, nurses, and other dedicated healthcare professionals who are on the front lines of our battle with #Covid19 aka #Coronavirus, here at NYU Langone Health and elsewhere.”
“I’m not out of the woods yet. But I’m upbeat and optimistic,” he said.
Lat has been hospitalized at NYU Langone in Manhattan since March 16. For more than a week before being admitted to the hospital, he had experienced intermittent fevers, joint aches, chills, fatigue and coughing. Labored breathing set in by March 15, forcing him to go to his nearest emergency room to seek a coronavirus test.
After Lat was moved to the ICU, intubated and put on a ventilator late March 20 or early March 21, his doctors began giving him both a Z-Pak (azithromycin) and the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine in an effort to knock down his COVID-19 infection, his husband, Zachary Baron Shemtob, has said. They also started administering an IL 6-inhibitor to help fight the extreme inflammation of Lat’s lungs caused by the virus.
In a text late Saturday night, Shemtob said that he was not available to speak at the moment. Lat was also unavailable.