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15 days of 102 fever, a cracked tooth from chattering — ex-NYSE chief shares his Covid ordeal

Tom Farley, former president of the New York Stock Exchange, on Friday detailed his battle with Covid-19 early in the pandemic, telling CNBC “it was not a good period in my life.”

“I had a 102 to 103.5 [degree] fever for 15 days straight, and then I couldn’t get out of bed for another week. I lost about 25 pounds,” Farley, who is in his mid-40s, said on “Squawk Box.”

“I looked like Skeletor, cracked a tooth from chattering. I felt like somebody was taking a sledgehammer to my back,” he added, referencing the Mattel supervillain from the Masters of the Universe franchise.

Farley, who oversaw the NYSE from 2014 to 2018, said he had his “nasty case” of Covid-19 in March.

At the time, he said his special purpose acquisition company was in the process of finalizing a deal with a merger target while the uncertainty caused by the fledging pandemic unsettled global financial markets.

“It was at the exact time the S&P seemed to go down like 5% a day,” said Farley, whose first SPAC completed its merger in August with Global Blue, a Swiss fintech firm. He now serves as the company’s chairman.

“My brain wasn’t firing. I was physically exhausted. It was not a good period in my life,” Farley said. “On that 23rd day, I woke up and yes, I was weak, but I felt better and I felt hopeful and optimistic, and I started getting into a workout routine.”

More than 65.3 million people worldwide have been infected with the coronavirus since it emerged nearly a year ago in Wuhan, China, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. At least 1,509,141 people have died from Covid-19 globally.

In the U.S., there has been more than 14 million confirmed cases and at least 276,401 deaths, according to Hopkins data. The nation is in the throes of its third Covid-19 surge, with record new daily cases and deaths as well as current hospitalizations.

Farley’s experience with the Covid-19 exemplifies the unpredictable nature of the novel coronavirus, which sometimes leads to only asymptomatic infection and other times lingering symptoms for months.

Despite the severity of his illness, Farley acknowledged he was fortunate to recover. “I almost feel guilty talking about this, given how many people have died.”

Farley’s appearance on CNBC on Friday comes after his second blank-check company, Far Peak Acquisition, announced the pricing its $550 million initial public offering. It began trading on the NYSE this week.

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