Waikiki bartender continues to battle impacts of COVID-19 almost five months after falling ill


HONOLULU (KHON2) — More than four months after Coby Torda tested positive for COVID-19, he still struggles with lingering complications caused by the virus.

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The 38-year-old Waikiki bartender tested positive for COVID-19 in March. He thinks he contracted the virus while at work, but isn’t sure.

Torda spent 69 days in the ICU, most of that time in an induced coma. When he woke up, the world had changed.

“I just remember working and everything was normal and then waking up from my coma and everything was different. Everybody was quarantined. Everybody was in masks in the hospital with like tape and signs saying be careful when entering this room. It was a little bit scary,” said Torda.

When he came to, he’d lost 80 pounds, he couldn’t eat or drink and needed help going to the bathroom. He said he had to relearn how to do just about everything.

He was released from the hospital May 29th, but continues to struggle with the aftermath of COVID-19.

“Some of the bigger issues that I’m living with is I have my coughing spasms, breathing complications and I get anxiety and asthma attacks here and there.”

Torda uses oxygen to help him breathe. He said he’s been trying to wean himself off it but when he doesn’t use it his oxygen saturation levels drop.

He gets winded during conversations and admitted that breathing sometimes feels “like a chore.”

If he knew in March what he knows now, Torda said, he would have been a lot more cautious and he wouldn’t have gone to work.

Torda said that he had heard about the coronavirus at the beginning of the year and he and his husband were planning on going to Europe before the pandemic hit.

“We kept telling each other we hope this virus is not serious. I really didn’t think I was going to get infected. I thought I was invincible. A lot of young people think they’re invincible,” Torda said.

Sadly, he found out the hard way that he wasn’t.

KHON: “What do you want to say to the people who continue to go out and gather in large groups and throw caution to the wind?”

“I just wish that they weren’t selfish.”

Torda said he feels lucky to still be alive and is urging everyone to take the necessary safety precautions because the virus impacts everyone differently.

“Anybody can get infected. Regardless whether it’s mild or as severe as mine, people got to think about, not just their own lives but, other people’s lives too.”

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