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COVID-19 wipes out a 34-year-old man in peak shape for 3 months

A 34-year-old Charlotte man who was in peak physical condition earlier this year is finally starting to feel better – three months after he came down with Covid.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Aaron Dodge spent thirty minutes at a friend's house back in August and neither of them wore masks.

He said he’s been paying for it dearly ever since.

"I was feeling real good before it all went down," Dodge said. 

Dodge is known around Charlotte for his entertaining social media feed. With lots of dancing, lots of fun and lots of running, the 34-year-old Checkers hype man said he actually beat his personal record by 9 minutes when he ran a half marathon back in March.

"I was actually in the best shape of my life before I got Covid," he said. 

RELATED: Frequently asked questions about North Carolina's mask mandate

He got sick in August.

"I woke up with cold chills a headache and felt like I got hit by a Mack truck," Dodge remembered. 

He first tested negative with a rapid test, but then on day 10, he tested positive.

RELATED: What are the potential long-term effects of having COVID-19?

"I never cracked a fever felt like somebody took a baseball bat to my back because I had so many body aches," he said. 

He got through the fever and body aches in a few days, but the fatigue just didn’t go away.

"There was a point where every single day was a question mark," he said.  "There were times I woke up at 7 am had 2 cups of coffee and took a nap at 10 am after 2 cups of coffee."

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This avid runner, and all-around active guy, couldn’t work out for months. He said the mental toll was almost as bad as the physical one.

He remembers days where he had to tell his boss he was done for the day by mid-afternoon. "It's 2 o'clock I got nothing left in me. I can't keep my head up anymore, I gotta go lay down," he said. 

Dodge said just last week he finally turned a corner and is starting to feel like himself again. But he hopes his story helps others. His number one suggestion? Wear a mask.

"I just want people to continue to be safe," he said. 

He said being sick for so long meant he got depressed, something he hadn’t experienced before. 

Dodge said it’s important to be able to get help for that part of the fight as well. 

On Thursday, North Carolina saw it's largest number of daily COVID-19 cases: 5,637. 

"I am very worried," said Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary for the state's Department of Health and Human Services. 

Dodge echoed health officials in a last warning to the public, in hopes of getting a better grip on the pandemic. 

"It's disheartening. I wish our numbers weren't heading in that direction," Dodge said. "We can't let our guard down. We can't let the fact that the vaccine that's coming soon lets us let our guard down."

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