The Human Cost of COVID-19: Eugene

Vienna, Austria – In this final story in the World Health Organization series exploring the human cost of the COVID-19 pandemic, Eugene, a care-home nurse in Austria, shares the story of how he survived coronavirus.

  • 17 November 2020
  • 2 min read
  • by WHO
The Human Cost of COVID-19: Eugene
The Human Cost of COVID-19: Eugene


I felt chills down my spine – will I die? What will happen to my family? Will I survive this?

Eugene, a 32-year-old care-home nurse in Austria, first noticed COVID-19 symptoms on his way home from work.

“At that time, our care facility did not have enough personal protective equipment and there was a lack of disinfectant. My colleagues and I had to create our own masks out of gauze bandages, while more and more patients were testing positive each day.”

To protect his family, Eugene set up a tent out in their garden, and slept there to isolate himself. It was not an easy few days as spring had only started, and the temperature dropped at night. So did the symptoms setting in: dry and rough coughing, a 39˚ fever, his whole body aching, and chills despite wrapping himself in layers of sheets.

Eugene’s road to recovery was rough, but he says it’s not as bad as many others he has witnessed or read about. Now he is back at work, ready to pick up where he left off. His care facility has also acquired more than enough PPE and disinfectants for the staff and the patients. He comes back ready with a story to tell them, and reassure his patients that COVID-19 is not necessarily a death sentence: “It did not kill me, and instead it has made me more resolute and compassionate.”

Learn more about Eugene's story on WHO’s website.



The World Health Organization is featuring human stories that show how the COVID-19 pandemic is unravelling lives and livelihoods all around the world.