New York hospital staff sang and danced for a COVID-19 patient leaving the ICU after 158 days

  • Rabbi Yehuda "Yudi" Dukes, an otherwise healthy 38-year-old father of six from Long Island, New York, was hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19 for 158 days. 
  • He finally left the ICU on Friday.
  • Video posted to Twitter by Motti Seligson shows hospital staff and visitors singing, dancing, and clapping for him as he was wheeled out of the unit into rehab.
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Rabbi Yehuda "Yudi" Dukes has spent nearly half a year in critical condition due to complications from COVID-19. He endured four and a half months on a ventilator, and experienced double lung failure, a tracheotomy, septic shocks, and countless other life-threatening conditions throughout his hospitalization.

The 38-year-old father of six from Long Island, New York, is believed to be one of the longest-hospitalized coronavirus patients in the US. After 158 days, he finally left the ICU on Friday to begin rehab.

Rabbi Yehudah "Yudi" Dukes with his wife, Sarah Spangenthal Dukes.
Courtesy of Sarah Spangenthal Dukes

Hospital staff lined the hallways to celebrate the next step in his recovery. 

Motti Seligson, director of media at, shared video on Twitter of Dukes being wheeled out of the ICU as onlookers sang, danced, and clapped for him. Guests sang an upbeat niggun, a traditional worldless melody from the Chabad sect of ultra-Orthodox Judaism.

In a Facebook post, Yudi's wife Sarah Spangenthal Dukes called his recovery "a true miracle."

"For SO LONG we have been DREAMING of getting to this point in Yudi's recovery where the doctors could even start talking about rehab- AND IT'S FINALLY HAPPENING!!!" she wrote. "I am so proud of my husband's perseverance, determination and commitment, and I consider it to be the biggest honor to be his wife!"

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