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WWL-TV's David Hammer battling COVID-19: 'The scariest illness I've ever faced'

"I believe I've been lucky to have had relatively minor symptoms, and it's still been the scariest illness I've ever faced."

NEW ORLEANS — The following is an update from WWL-TV investigative reporter David Hammer, who has been battling COVID-19. 

It's been two weeks since my last post. Unfortunately, that's because I am on Day 13 of COVID-19 symptoms. It's been eight days since I tested positive for the virus.

Normally, I wouldn't post about anything personal, but I have been receiving messages and emails about news stories and have not had the strength to pursue any investigations or reporting. 

I tried to help our team last week when the OSHA violations were issued for the Hard Rock Hotel collapse, but the fatigue COVID-19 causes can be overwhelming. 

And like many others, I experienced a "second wave" of new symptoms on Day 10 that made me feel like I needed to go to the hospital. I had terrible pressure in my chest that caused a panic attack and made it hard to determine if the illness was causing shortness of breath. 

SEE: David Hammer Investigations 

Thanks to my family and a pre-dawn phone call to our good friend Dr. Annelies De Wulf, an ER doctor who has been one of the heroes treating folks at University Hospital, I was able to control my breathing and avoid hospitalization.

I believe I've been lucky to have had relatively minor symptoms, and it's still been the scariest illness I've ever faced. 

Thank goodness my family and colleagues who worked closely with me before I got sick have remained healthy. 

As I approach two weeks with COVID-19, I am hopeful that I will continue to improve and will soon be able to report important information to you on WWL-TV and get back to chronicling the significant stories of the community we all love, so we can all come back stronger.

MORE: Louisiana Coronavirus Outbreak Interactive Map

MORE: COVID-19 Timeline: See how fast things have changed in Louisiana

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