At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it had been reported that the eldery and those with underlying health conditions are the most prone to the virus. This led to the early conclusion that perfectly healthy younger people had less to worry about. Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, with 32.9 million Twitter followers even tweeted the same rhetoric, saying, "Kids are essentially immune, but elderly with existing conditions are vulnerable."
This, of course, has since been disproven by World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who reiterated that the coronavirus does not discriminate. "You are not invincible,” he said as a warning to the youth. "This virus could put you in hospital for weeks, or even kill you… People under 50 make up a significant proportion of patients requiring hospitalization.”
A 22-year-old patient named Amy Shircel had to learn this sobering truth the hard way. The U.S.-based college student who tested positive for COVID-19 recently documented her harrowing experience on Twitter in hopes of getting her friends and followers to take the global pandemic seriously. In just under a week, her eye-opening thread has since garnered a little over 300,000 likes and 113,000 retweets.
“I’m 22 and I tested positive for COVID-19. Take it from me—you do NOT want to catch this,” her first tweet warned. “Hopefully hearing about my experience will help the rest of you to stay home (for real).” According to Amy, who at the time had just come home from a Europe trip, her symptoms on the first few days seemed bearable. “I had a fever, a mild cough, chills, headache, runny nose,” she wrote. Due to her travel history, she was immediately admitted for testing the next day.
Unfortunately, things quickly took a turn for the worse by the third day of her symptoms, which by then had included nausea, constant vomiting, and the inability to eat. “I couldn’t keep anything down,” Amy described. She received her test results on the fourth day, revealing that she was, indeed, positive with the dreaded disease. Weak and bed-ridden, it only took a day into her diagnosis before she’d convinced herself that she wouldn’t survive her battle. “I had never been this ill in my entire life. I was genuinely afraid I would die, because that is what it felt like.”
While continuing to observe strict quarantine guidelines, Amy’s condition progressively worsened. She reported feeling so catastrophically weak she couldn’t stand. She also spoke of dehydration, shortness of breath, and violent shivers. By the seventh day, Amy's frail condition landed her in the ER, feeling more fatigued than she'd ever been in her life. “I couldn’t eat for nine days. I was completely miserable.”
She began and ended her Twitter thread day 12 into her symptoms. While she revealed that she’d gained her appetite back, her major symptoms still remained.
“The end is nowhere in sight,” she said before ending with an important cautionary message to other young people like her. “A coronavirus diagnosis is dehumanizing and lonely, and I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. You aren’t invincible just because you’re in your 20s. Take it from me, and quarantine like your life depends on it (it might).”
The message that Amy left is loud and clear. Anyone, no matter how young or old, can get the virus. Age or seemingly perfect health sould not be reasons for us to let our guards down.
The best preventive measure is still for us to regularly wash our hands with soap. "To make it simple: Soap is made of fat, and the key that holds the virus together is the lipid layer on the outside. So to break the lipid layer, the soap will disassemble it and the virus falls apart," Ospital Ng Makati resident Dr. Margaret Pajanel explained in a interview with Preview.
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