By Kimberly Davis

MARLTON, N.J. (CBS) — A South Jersey man who contracted COVID-19  says he’s just happy to be alive. He spoke with CBS3 about his battle and the drug he says made a big difference.

Eyewitness News spoke with a man who is winning his fight against the deadly coronavirus. At one point, his fever hit 101.5 degrees.

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He’s sharing his battle with Eyewitness News in hopes that people will take the stay-at-home guidelines seriously.

“First, it was starting around my throat. When it went down to my lungs, all it does is just wants me to stop breathing, period, until I cannot go any further,” Randy Chen said.

It’s now day 17 for Chen.

“I keep a little pencil and notes about all my daily accounts,” he said.

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It’s been 17 days since he’s seen daylight or his family face-to-face since contracting COVID-19.

In an effort to keep his wife safe, he’s self-isolating in his Marlton basement.

He has this message for people who aren’t social distancing.

“When you cannot breathe and when you’re six feet under, that’s your social distancing, permanently,” Chen said.

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Chen says he was at two crowded public events before he started developing symptoms on March 15, including the Philadelphia Flyers’ last home game on March 10.

“To this day, I don’t know where I would have got it. I really have no idea,” Chen said.

The 50-year-old has been sharing his personal journey on social media.

This is what he looked like just five days ago.

Credit: CBS3

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He credits his recovery to chloroquine phosphate, a drug used to treat malaria, after consulting with his primary physician.

“The difference for me taking those two pills on the 24th based on my notes, it got me from such a dire situation to the next day on the 25th, I was able to smell and taste my food again,” Chen said.

For now, he’s just grateful he’s escaped COVID-19 with his life.

By April 6, Chen is expected to be allowed to discontinue self-isolating if he no longer needs medication and doesn’t have a fever for 72 hours.

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He plans to donate plasma if it can help others fight this virus.