‘Patient Zero’ Lost Most of His Fingers to COVID-19 Caught on Ski Trip Last Year. Now He’s Back on the Slopes.

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One of the first Americans to have COVID-19 caught the virus during a ski trip to Italy last February. Now, Gregg Garfield has made a triumphant return to the slopes.

All 13 of his buddies on the ski trip tested positive, with Garfield’s case being the most severe. He was put on a ventilator and given a 1% chance to live after sepsis set in. The Los Angeles businessman was known as “patient zero” and lost most of his fingers while ill.

Garfield spent 64 days at St. Joseph’s Providence Hospital in Burbank, California. His goal was to walk out of the hospital, which he did to a cheering crowd. Since then, he has had seven surgeries on his hands and is currently being fitted for prosthetic fingers on his right hand. But he never lost the dream of getting back on his skis.

“I didn’t miss a beat out there skiing,” Garfield told Inside Edition.

Once down the mountain, Garfield was greeted by his family and friends, celebrating another milestone in his long recovery. By his side was his longtime girlfriend AJ Johnson.

“He also made a promise to us, his family, as well as the nurses and friends, that he was going to get back out on skis,” Johnson told Inside Edition.

But that isn't the only promise Garfield made. The couple has since gotten engaged.

“It’s something that was a traumatic thing, fortunately it brought us closer together and we’ve got a lifetime of happiness to go,” Garfield said.

Garfield said he wants to go back to Italy to go skiing, this time with his fiance.


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