“I have a new respect for breakthrough infections,” Dr. Mike Nayak explained to his 63,000 Instagram followers
ST. LOUIS — Prominent St. Louis plastic surgeon Dr. Mike Nayak has been fully vaccinated against coronavirus since January, but just over a week ago, he became one of the few to slide into the “breakthrough” category, testing positive for the virus, and sharing his story with his 63,000 Instagram followers.
“I had a breakthrough infection. I have a new respect for breakthrough infections,” he explained in the Instagram video.
“Suddenly I came down with shakes and chills hard enough that I had a hard time writing. If you looked at my penmanship, you would think I was on a moving train,” Nayak told 5 On Your Side.
Nayak said his temperature shot up to 103 degrees Fahrenheit. He dealt with a number of other symptoms, though his illness was classified as a minor experience because he didn’t require help breathing.
After about two and a half days, he recovered his energy, left only with a lingering cough and raspy voice. He said he’ll never know if the vaccine saved him from stronger symptoms, but the data suggests it did.
“Right now breakthrough cases have an average infection of 2.7 days, and I was 2.5,” he said, adding that nonvaccinated patients usually deal with the delta variant for ten or so days.
“It can literally be life-saving to be vaccinated,” Dr. Aamina Akhtar, Mercy Hospital South Chief Medical Officer, said.
An infectious disease specialist, Akhtar said they see very few breakthrough patients in ICU or on ventilators, and one of the biggest concerns is the transmission rate.
“It has become highly transmissible. Right now, the delta variant is more transmissible than SARS; it’s more transmissible than ebola; the transmission rate is about the same transmission rate as chickenpox,” she said.
Nayak said he’ll never know which strain of coronavirus he caught, but the fact that he had such a tough time makes him think it was the delta variant, the latest chapter in the ongoing pandemic.
“I think it’s OK to say ‘I don’t know,’ I think it’s OK to say ‘we were wrong,’ I think it’s OK to say ‘we’re going to find out more in the future,” he said of the way the pandemic continues on, sometimes veering from expectations.
“Either you’re going to get COVID or get vaccinated,” Akhtar said, adding “the variant coming around is super, super-aggressive, and it’s really gonna be one or the other.”
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