Former LSU quarterback Jamie Howard said there weren’t any symptoms that he had coronavirus, even when he began running fever on March 21.
That, coupled with respiratory problems that contributed to a build-up of fluid in his lungs and pneumonia, resulted in the 46-year-old Howard being hospitalized last week in his hometown of Lafayette where he tested positive for the virus.
Howard also said that his 15-year-old son Walker, a sophomore at St. Thomas More who is regarded among the nation’s top quarterback prospects in the Class of 2022, also tested positive Wednesday for the virus.
“I believe it’s all around us,” Howard said. “If my son, who had zero symptoms has it, that’s scary. There’s so many people that aren’t getting tested. I hear things like half the population’s going to be exposed to it at some point.”
Howard has returned home where he’s self-quarantined away from his son and 13-year-old daughter, who doesn’t have the virus along with either of his two older daughters who are at LSU, he said.
He thanked a group of friends who have provided meals and groceries during the growing pandemic.
“They’ve been great to us,” he said. “They have taken really good care of us.”
Howard indicated that a week or two before he began running fever, he was experiencing a shortness of breath and a “slight flutter” in his chest.
He described his fever, which ranged consistently between 99-101.5 while taking Tylenol daily, as the “flu on steroids”, which kept him in bed other than to use the rest room for four to five days.
“It was rough,” he said.
A week later after the start of his fever, Howard had trouble breathing and went to the hospital March 28 where he received plenty of antibiotics. With improved oxygen levels, he was discharged but not without some indelible images during his stay.
“When I went to the hospital that was a scary scene,” he said. “You definitely don’t want to end up in the hospital. My advice would be if you’re not having a hard time breathing then do not go to the hospital. It can only get worse there. There’s so many sick people there. It’s really sad.”
Howard, who quarterbacked LSU from 1992-95 and is fifth all-time with 6,158 passing yards, said there’s no comparison between coronavirus and the flu.
“You know with the flu and everyone gets the cold sweats,” he said. “You have all that and those are things we’ve all experienced. But the (coronavirus) respiratory issue’s just different. If you move too much you feel it and you don’t breathe that great.
“Besides the throwing up, this was worse. It just really knocks you down. You don’t feel like doing anything at all. The headaches are some of the worst I’ve had. I think the biggest issue is they really don’t know. Everyone’s got a different opinion on it. Everybody’s reacting differently to it.”
Howard said he was asked by his doctor to try and trace his steps to where he believed he could have possibly contracted the virus. He said that he traveled to Aspen, Colo. for a ski trip during the Mardi Gras holiday.
“That’s the only place we think we could have gotten it from,” said Howard, a partner with Howard Risk Advisers Insurance Agency. “There’s so many that have it that don’t know they have it. I think it’s all over the place right now.”
For the first time in nearly two weeks, Howard said he finally experienced a break in his fever Wednesday. He also credited medicines such as Zinc and Amoxicillin, along with Tylenol, for his improved condition.
“I think I’m on the mend right now, I’m definitely getting better,” Howard said. “It’s the weaknesses from not doing anything for a 1 ½ weeks. I’ve just got to get stronger and build up my breathing. Try not to push it too hard.
“The main thing is to stay low and not do too much. My immune system wasn’t obviously the strongest or I wouldn’t have gotten it this bad. If you’re not feeling that great be careful. This isn’t a joke.”