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Above the Law Founder in Critical Condition from COVID-19, Is on Ventilator


David Lat in a 2013 interview

David Lat, founder of the legal news website Above the Law, is in critical condition from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and is on a ventilator, says his family.

“He’s not doing great,” husband Zachary Baron Shemtob told The New York Law Journal in a phone interview Saturday evening. Lat was put on a ventilator after his oxygen levels fell at some time late Friday or early Saturday at NYU Langone Hospital, Shemtob said.

Before things took a turn for the worse, Lat was already hospitalized, reported having a difficult experience with the virus, and said he had a tough time even getting tested for it until he got serious respiratory symptoms.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Lat wrote that he was a “generally healthy” 44-year-old man, who weighed 153 pounds “(surely less now),” and was 5’7″ tall. He said he did no drugs, rarely drank, and had “no health conditions other than exercise-induced asthma, which I manage with an inhaler.” In follow-up posts, he said he ran the New York City marathon twice, and still worked out often, but because of the illness, “this ex-marathoner could barely walk the five feet from the bed to the toilet.” He described himself as “constantly weak and winded” because of the virus, and that he was hooked up to oxygen “24/7.” Lat even described eating as a challenge.

Shemtob said Saturday it wasn’t clear if there was a prognosis.

“I just want to folks to know that he is so strong; he is hanging in there, and we are praying he’ll recover,” he said. “Any thoughts or prayers people have are much appreciated.”

He’s certainly getting that.

Update – March 22, 2020, 2:42 p.m.: We added more information regarding what Lat said about his prior physical condition.

[Screengrab via University of California Television (UCTV)]

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