22-year-old who spent 49 days at hospital battling COVID-19 returns home to recover

Michael Mullininx’s entire family of eight contracted COVID-19. After he spent over a month in the hospital, with three weeks on a ventilator, his road to recovery is only beginning.
5:05 | 07/30/20

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Transcript for 22-year-old who spent 49 days at hospital battling COVID-19 returns home to recover
that Michael Mullinex and his family feared would never happen, the moment he could finally leave the hospital. Michael spent 49 grueling days in a Georgia hospital, battling covid-19 after all eight of his family members contracted the Michael's mother Connie in anguish during this time. My youngest son Marshall junior got it for three days and he was fine after that. Me and my husband and my son got the worst case. But Michael had it the worst than we did. This is what Michael looks like right now. Reporter: For three weeks, the 22-year-old was placed on a ventilator, fighting for his life. I know it's tough, but watching Michael go through that as a mother, what's it like? You never thought you would see your son with all the tubes. I have a picture of him and his brother that I would put under my pillow, and I didn't want to close it until he got home. Reporter: The former high school football player had no preexisting conditions, adding to the mystery why the virus seems to hit some harder than others. He does not have any medical issues. We stayed up on top of his health when he was going into middle school, high school and in elementary school. There's nothing really that's wrong with Michael whatsoever. Very healthy. Reporter: Michael's voice is still hoarse from the breathing tubes that kept him alive. This stuff is real. Reporter: His family says he faces up to six months of expensive physical therapy ahead to rebuild muscle strength and improve blood circulation, the fallout from being been bedridden for weeks. It's going to take a while for him to heal and be back to normal. He's already lost a lot of muscle mass in his left leg. It's re weak. He walks right now with a walker, but Michael has a long road of recovery for him. Reporter: But his family knows they're the lucky ones. Michael was able to come home. They hope his story can warn others that no one is immune from this virus, not even the young. This is not a game. This is serious. It's not fake. It's not a common cold, it's not the flu. Take it seriously, people. Put on a mask, wash your hands. That's what Michael's message would be. Our thanks to Victor. Earlier, I spoke with ABC news chief medical correspondent, Dr. Jen Ashton. As we just saw young patients like Michael can end up on a walker for weeks, his vocal chords are still damaged. In many ways, leaving the hospital is just the beginning of a long-term comeback. It definitely can be. What you're talking about is something any intensive care person knows very well. It even has a name. The post icu syndrome, and that is a marked, debilitation, muscle wasting. Literally almost every system can be involved. And people have to remember, just because you're discharged from the hospital, especially from the icu, the road to recovery can literally be day by day, and it can take months. I always encourage people you have to be patient with yourself. Just because you spent ten days in an icu doesn't mean in ten days you'll be back to baseline. It can take a lot longer than And Jen, earlier today we watched you speak one on one with Dr. Anthony Fauci on a wide range of issues. But one issue many of us are still wondering about is hydroxychloroquine. It's back in the news after a retweet by president trump. A growing number of experts are saying it's not even effective against covid. Can you help us clear up some of these misconceptions? I can give context. It's important we're in the setting of a medical and public health crisis and emergency. As such, you know this, I say it all the time. Doctors and scientists should stay in their lane and politicians should stay in theirs. We're talking about a drug here, and every drug has risks and benefits. The fda officially has not delineated any benefits to hydroxychloroquine in treating covid-19, but they always leave open the door for doctors to prescribe any medication in an off-label setting if that doctor feels that the benefits outweigh the risks. I think when you talk about hydroxychloroquine or any drug, it's important to remember in science, in medicine, we're always reassessing, reanalyzing, studying drugs and how they work in different patient populations in different settings, so I know it's frustrating for people, but when you hear something one day, data may produce a different outcome down the road, and we just have to keep an open mind to that. And this is why we like to listen to you and Dr. Fauci, thanks, Dr. Jen, as always. Thanks, juju.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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