Surviving COVID-19: California Lottery rep given 1% chance to live shares story to warn others

A northern California man is sharing his miraculous story of recovery and warning the public to take the coronavirus seriously after spending nearly four weeks in a coma.
BRENTWOOD, Calif. -- A northern California man is sharing his story of miraculous recovery from the coronavirus and warns the public to take the virus seriously, after nearly losing his life.

RELATED: Lottery rep in coma after testing positive, wife pleads for others to get tested

At a time when nearly 3,000 Californians have died from COVID-19, Mike Arevalo isn't taking anything for granted.

Surrounded by his daughter and new grandson and wife of nearly 40 years at his home, he knows how close to death he once was.

"I went through the gates of hell and came back. It almost killed me, almost killed my wife, my daughter, and grandson," said Arevalo.

Hell was COVID-19. Swift and fierce. A virus Arevalo believes was contracted while on the job as a California Lottery representative, visiting dozens of retailers in any given day.

Coronavirus tore this former high school coach and Lottery employee from his family in late March for 10 grueling weeks. Nearly four of them, spent in a coma. The outlook seemed bleak as his chance survival stood at a defeating 1%.

"It was very painful. I don't think people understand until it hits home," wept Arevalo's wife, Rosemary Arevalo.

Mike Arevalo though, is a true miracle, coming out of a coma on Easter. Vowing to never again be lonely. Not taking anything...including his new grandson for granted.

I first met Mike 3-years ago when I first came to San Francisco. He was my rideshare driver, a hobby he did for fun. What struck me was his effervescence and quickness to tell a joke.

Daughter Christina smiles when I shared this story with her.

"I wish people recognize him everywhere. He has a huge personality!" exclaimed Christina.

That personality is still in there, but moving forward, there are many questions.

"I know it's going to be a long recovery...and we don't know exactly what the virus did to his body his cognitive skills, his lungs are they going to be jeopardized long term or is it going to be something that is going to heal," says Rosemary.

RELATED: What does COVID-19 do to your body and why does it spread so easily?

When asked about how the world has changed in the past few months and how he feels about the country reopening again, strong words.

"The message I can give to everybody is to keep fighting, keep being safe, use the precautions b/c you don't want to end up there." says Mike. "People are taking this as a joke, all this social distancing they're not doing anymore, it's crazy. I know, because I suffered through it."

While the road ahead will be long. The family, who have all since healed from their own bouts of COVID-19 know they have one thing together. That is love for each other. And a vow to never be apart.
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