Jeff Sweat is a Los Angeles-based writer and author with a rich background in journalism and marketing. He’s also funny—very funny—and a loving father, partner, and friend to many. Until a few weeks ago, he was also healthy and active, as well as caring enough to take recommended precautions to avoid catching or spreading the COVID-19 virus.

As he wrote in a Facebook post on January 31st, he and his family had been “insanely careful,” venturing only to two stores and consistently wearing a mask around non-family members before his COVID symptoms appeared.

His whole family contracted the coronavirus, but only his symptoms were severe enough to land him in the hospital. At the time, his oxygen saturation level was at 65%. The normal range is above 95% and under 90% is considered a serious lack of oxygen perfusing the body. 

Upon arrival, a provider at UCLA Medical Center told him she was surprised he could walk and talk in that state. The LA County health worker working his case told him that he and his kin likely caught one of the new, faster-moving variants of COVID-19, and that many people seem to have caught it in grocery stores. 

“If you were on the fence about having your groceries delivered,” Jeff wrote on Facebook, “let us take you off it.”

(If you can’t afford grocery delivery, consider ordering in advance for pickup, which is often free, or limit your shopping time, double your mask, maintain social distance and choose non-crowded times.)

Since arriving at the hospital, Jeff has been on a grueling and perplexing journey as his body fights the disease. On February 2nd, he was intubated. Shortly after, his partner, Sunny Cannon, began posting daily updates on his behalf on his Facebook page. 

Close friends of the family created a GoFundMe page to gather funds to help cover medical bills. Struck by others’ generosity, Sunny shared that she’ll donate any money not used for that purpose to an ICU in South LA “to help pay for the COVID bill for someone else less fortunate.”

And when a Musa team member reached out to Jeff’s family about sharing their story, they was met with encouragement. Sunny wants people to understand how devastating and dangerous COVID-19 truly is.

To learn more about Jeff Sweat’s journey, check out the posts he and Sunny have shared on Facebook. Here are previews of a few of the updates. Click a preview to read it in full or visit Jeff’s Facebook page.

(Update: As it turns out, the procedure was scheduled a day later. Learn more here.)

We are so grateful to Jeff and Sunny. Their excellent writing and aching descriptions of what they are going through, individually and as a family, are a service to all of us.

We hope their ongoing story gives you an idea of how real and horrible COVID-19 is, as an otherwise healthy man is now on day 18 in the ICU. If we can come together in a positive way and get involved to help people, to help agencies, communities and families who are truly in need, isn’t that positive energy expended going to the much greater good of all of us, rather than the negative, ugly waste of denial, anger, and misleading remarks about “extensive research from questionable or self aggrandizing sources”? You will feel better helping, rather than being another bump in this long, tiring road we are all traveling down.

We want to thank the staff at UCLA who are taking such excellent care of Jeff and give a big shoutout to nurse Honey (read touching words from Sunny about her here), who goes above and beyond in her care for her patients, a special thank you.

We’re also thinking of members of our own Musa crew: nurse Linda, who has spent the entire last year crossing back and forth across the country working COVID hotspots, Megan, a nurse practitioner, paramedics Suzanne and Eric and Rich, and doctors Tatiana, Olga, Sarah Frances, Addi and Yogi.

Please heed what Jeff and Sunny have shared; we all really are in this together.

All of us at Musa Masala are sending our very best to Jeff and his family. To support them and ease the burden of his hospital bills, donate any amount via GoFundMe or purchase his books, May Fly and Scorpion.