Survivor warns Covid is real after four months fighting for life in hospital

One Londonderry man who spent over 100 days fighting for his life in hospital after contracting Covid-19 has used his homecoming to warn people to take the virus seriously.

Michael Barr returned home to a rapturous welcome this week after being discharged from Altnagelvin Hospital four months after being admitted with Covid.

It's a home he thought he might never see again.

"I'm speechless, totally speechless. What I would like to get across is that Covid is real, it took me down, so it did, do you know what I mean?"

Covid is real. I thought Covid wouldn't get me. It took me down.

Michael Barr

He thanked the hospital staff, saying: “They were my family for four months."

Michael had only been married to wife Kelly Barr for just a month when he contracted Covid-19 last September.

Michael and Kelly married last year, just a month before Michael contracted Covid-19. Credit: Family photo

The next four months of marriage were a tale of separation, isolation, fear and prayer.

Kelly said it is “an absolute miracle” to have him home.

"He is a miracle. I've been told that by the doctors. To have him here is an absolute miracle.

"He spent 113 days in hospital, and 70 of them in ICU. And I've so much to thank everybody for their prayers, and Sister Clare too, she was our inspiration. She brought me through this, with all the help from everybody else.”

Many people in the community have been rallying behind the couple.

"I couldn't have got through it without them all,” Kelly said.

“Even total strangers, I couldn't have gotten through this without them strangers, and without all these here today."

Football fan Michael is a supporter of Tottenham Hotspurs, and the club reached out while he was in hospital.

During months in intensive care and on a Covid ward, Michael feared he would not survive.

"There were dark nights. Definitely," he admitted.

Kelly said: "We just want people to respect Covid and believe it's real and wear their masks." Michael added: "And I would have been one that didn't wear a mask. I thought Covid wouldn't get me. You have to learn to eat, walk, talk. It's not nice."

His message is simple - Covid-19 is real and everyone should take sensible precautions to stay safe.

Kelly’s birthday is on Thursday and she says she could wish for no better gift than having Michael home again.