A Filipino priest who contracted the new coronavirus disease in New York has recovered after a two-week battle with the disease, said a report from CBCP News.
Father Jun Villanueva of the Diocese of Balanga said a medical test on April 13 confirmed his complete recovery from the virus.
“I am feeling so much better now… everything feels normal again,” said Father Villanueva.
He said the symptoms started with fever, sneezing, sore throat, dry cough, no appetite, and difficulty in breathing, so he decided to undergo a self-quarantine on March 25.
The priest went for a COVID-19 test on March 30. While waiting for the result of the test, he was advised to self-quarantine in the convent.
Four days later, he was informed that he was infected with the disease.
The priest admitted that he was afraid. “I was literally and emotionally alone, but I took all the moments to be with God,” he said.
After ten days, the priest said his fever disappeared and he regained his appetite.
“Good thing I don’t have health issues so the recovery was a bit fast,” he said.
Father Villanueva, who previously served a parish in Bataan province’s Morong town, arrived in New York on March 6 for a five-year assignment at St. Peter – Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, near the World Trade Center.
After studying 3D animation and digital compositing at the New York Film Academy in 2005, the priest has been in and out of the city, serving different parishes as a missionary.
New York City, the epicenter of the outbreak in the US, has also been tagged as the world’s coronavirus capital, recording more cases than any country across the globe.
As of Sunday, April 26, the virus claimed nearly 17,000 lives in New York, with over 282,143 confirmed cases across the state, which is home to some 19.5 million people.
The US, as a whole, has more than 980,000 cases, with around 55,000 fatalities.
New York also extended its lockdown measures, requiring residents to stay home, until at least May 15.
It was on March 13 when the archdiocese also announced the suspension public Masses to slow the spread of COVID-19.
For Father Villanueva, celebrating Masses in an empty church “is my loneliest of the loneliest experience as a priest”.
“I really cried when I first celebrated Mass without churchgoers. There’s no one in the Church except Jesus,” he recalled.
“Then I realized that the Mass is not a show but our union with Jesus, whether there are people or none,” he said. “I started to look at the situation from that perspective.”