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23-Year-Old Survivor Has Message About COVID-19 Seriousness

CENTERVILLE, Utah – A Utah man in his twenties said he wants young people like himself to know that they are not immune to the difficulties of COVID-19.

Matt Newey from Centerville shared his story with KSL in hopes that other young people will take the virus seriously.

He and four friends went on a ski trip to Colorado. All five of them came back, testing positive for novel coronavirus.

The 23-year-old has officially recovered from the virus, because it’s been more than three weeks since his diagnosis.

During the most difficult phase, he said even getting up from the couch was a struggle. That was about a month ago, before everything started shutting down.

Matt Newey said he felt like he was breathing through a straw at one point, constantly gasping for air. Then the coughing piled onto that.

Newey said he’s an athletic guy and very active, but has some exercise-induced asthma. He believes that was why COVID-19 really hit him hard.

Not only that, he spent his quarantine alone in his parent’s basement – all the while, worried that he could give the virus to them.

Luckily, that didn’t happen, but Newey said he had a pretty rough time, and did his best to document the experience so he could share it with others.

“It affected my lungs pretty hard. It got to the point where it felt like I was breathing through a straw, which got pretty scary,” he said.

Then the coughing began.

“I’m healthy. I’m young. I’ve never been affected by any sickness like that, you know?” Newey said. “It was kind of scary. I’ve never had any cold or any virus that impacted my lungs so strongly. That was a huge shocker.”

Newey said he and a couple of his friends lost their sense of taste and smell. He still doesn’t have it back. He also said, unlike him, his friends had relatively few problems.

Coronavirus Resources

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

How To Get Help

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.

Additional Resources

If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at

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