Kansas State University journalism professor and COVID-19 patient Andrew Smith remains in intensive care, but says that “things are looking up.”
“We’re not to the finish line yet,” Andrew Smith said in Facebook video from his bed at Manhattan’s Ascension Via Christi Hospital. “But they’re getting better.”
Smith, an educator, actor and Common Table president, is the first Manhattan area resident to test positive for COVID-19, which he contracted while on a trip to London with his family and a class of students from the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
While those students and his family quarantined at home, experiencing lesser symptoms, Smith’s illness progressed to the point of bilateral pneumonia. Though still under 24-hour care, Smith — no longer on constant oxygen — says that may not be the case much longer.
“The pneumonia has started to recede, which is a nice victory of sorts,” says Smith. “We’re not really talking, beating and winning and victory, really, we’re trying to get an even playing field and maybe mount a little bit of a lead.”
Smith says the illness has “done a number” on his liver and he is still experiencing fluctuating fever levels and fatigue, but is seeing progression and improving concentration as his health improves. If things continue on this trajectory, Smith may soon no longer need constant medical attention.
“So it looks like they could be releasing me from the ICU back into isolation back at home,” says Smith. “Back with my wife and the girls who have been having a tough time themselves back at home.”
In the video, Smith thanked everyone who has wished him and his family well as well as everyone who has lent them a hand — be they neighbors, co-workers or the doctors and nurses who have cared for him.
“Do you know a nurse? Do something good for a nurse,” Smith says. “They’re the ones that are going to be keeping us going. They’re the ones that will be sacrificing their time, sacrificing and risking their own health to make sure that we get the care we need and that is an absolute hero’s job.”
To those asking what they can do for him, Smith encouraged them to make their communities and neighborhoods better places.
“There’s going to come a time when we start to get back a little bit to normal and we’re going to need each other,” Smith says. “Get into your communities. Know your neighbors, know who’s around you, know who needs the help — because everybody’s got something to give.”
Smith told those watching who are able to be close to their loved ones, to hold them close and that he looks forward to doing the same with his family and friends as he improves and the world comes out of the pandemic.
“There’s something about the power of positive feeling and positive thinking,” Smith says. “When people group together and start thinking positively, amazing things can happen.”