‘Healthy’ 44-Year-Old Marathon Runner in NYC in Critical Condition With COVID-19

David Lat

The 44-year-old founder of legal blog Above the Law and a widely recognized legal recruiter is reportedly in critical condition and under sedation after he tested positive for COVID-19.

David Lat has been put on a ventilator after his oxygen level dropped while fighting the virus at NYU Langone Hospital in Manhattan, according to his 36-year-old husband, Zachary Baron Shemtob via Law.com.

“He’s not doing great,” Shemtob told the publication, adding that doctors and other hospital staff “are really attending to him. They’re taking it hour by hour, day by day.”

When asked of Lat’s prognosis, Shemtob replied, “It’s a bit much for me right now.”

“I just want folks to know that he is so strong; he is hanging in there, and we are praying he’ll recover,” the former clerk for U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Judge Robert Sack and a former associate at Cooley, said. “Any thoughts or prayers people have are much appreciated.”

Lat is a Yale Law School graduate, a former federal prosecutor and the author of a legal-appeals-centered novel.

He went into the hospital on March 15 after experiencing several symptoms such as a fever and a cough. He was admitted to NYU Langone Hospital a day later and after a battle to get tested for coronavirus.

On March 18, Lat shared his experience while battling the virus on his Twitter thread.

Described as a “generally healthy” male who rarely drinks and has not taken any drugs, Lat said he competed twice in the NYC Marathon. Even though he suffers from exercise-induced asthma, Lat added that he still walks 25 miles (40 kilometers) each week and attends at least three high-intensity interval training classes at the gym.

“In my current state, #LivingWithCovid, I am constantly weak and winded. I’m hooked up to oxygen 24/7. Even with oxygen, the simplest tasks are extremely difficult,” he said. “This morning, this ex-marathoner could barely walk the five feet from the bed to the toilet – and I had to pee as quickly as possible, chest heaving with the labor of breathing, because I was going to collapse if I stood too long.”

He added that he used to be a fast eater, but because of the virus, it takes him about 90 minutes to finish his meal and even his fork wobbles each time he lifts it up to his mouth.

“To be sure, #COVID19 hits different people differently #ymmv. I gave it to my husband, and for him it was a low-level flu that seems to have almost run its course after about a week,” Lat said.

“But for those who get severe cases, like me, it’s been hell. I’ve had 10 days & counting, with no real improvement, of fever, fatigue, joint aches, chills, cough, respiratory difficulty. I have never been this sick in my entire life.”

Shemtob said that what made Lat’s condition more difficult is that none of his family members can visit due to how quickly the virus spreads.

Lat is being treated with a Z-Pak (azithromycin) and an anti-malaria drug as well as an IL 6-inhibitor to fight the inflammation of his lungs, Shemtob said.

However, in a recent update, Lat was given a “very experimental” drug therapy to help him fight the virus.

“We won’t know for a few more days, whether he’s going to get better—whether this stuff [the drug therapy] is working or not,” Shemtob said Monday afternoon. “We’re hanging in there. We’re just waiting and hoping.”

Feature Image via @DavidLat

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