Several students at the University of Connecticut are telling their stories about living with COVID-19, the novel respiratory disease responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of people worldwide and sickening many more.
Although older adults and those with underlying health issues are typically more severely affected by the virus, scores of young, healthy people have also been hospitalized or have died as a result of contracting the disease.
One undergraduate student who spoke to The Daily Campus said she was diagnosed with COVID-19 back in March just days after the university shifted to all-online classes, indicating she was likely infected while still on campus.
“I felt extremely fatigued and more tired than usual, but chalked it up to school work. Headaches started and increased in frequency/severity until they were migraines,” she said. “I had back and muscle aches. Coughing that got pretty bad with time- but started as a wet cough as opposed to the dry cough the CDC cites. I had no fever though.”
After her symptoms progressively worsened, the student in question ended up in the emergency room on the advice of her primary care physician.
“The coughing got pretty bad and I had chest tightness/shortness of breath and since I’m immunosuppressed, my doctor recommended I go to the ER for a chest X-Ray to see if I was developing pneumonia,” she said. “When there they did O2 level tests during exercise, blood work and scans. They kept me overnight but never admitted. I’d say it was one of the more severe cases of COVID.”
Though she became ill seven months ago, the student said she still has trouble with lack of smell and taste, both of which are characteristic symptoms of a COVID-19 infection. She said it is important for students to keep social distancing and be smart about their contacts.
“Your bars are not worth it. Your parties are not worth it. Life will resume eventually but you can’t resume your life at the expense of others’ lives,” she said. “And if not from the empathy of elderly people and people you don’t know, do it for the rest of the students where a few will inevitably have severe cases, do it for the faculty you’ve come to know and work with, or even yourself- you could be the atypical ‘bad case.’”
“Your bars are not worth it. Your parties are not worth it. Life will resume eventually but you can’t resume your life at the expense of others’ lives.”
Another student who spoke to The Daily Campus said they believe they contracted the virus from their mom who is an essential worker at a gas station along the highway in New York state.
“My first symptom was the complete loss of smell and taste for a week before I had any flu-like symptoms. I could swallow a tablespoon of hot sauce and it would have no taste — it was that bad,” they said. “And then after a week, I had a headache and felt chills all over my body at night time, and that was the worst of it. And then for another week I just felt weak and drowsy as my body worked to fight off this virus.”
“I could swallow a tablespoon of hot sauce and it would have no taste—it was that bad.”
Although the student acknowledged their infection was mild, they said it severely impacted members of their family who fell ill with the virus as well.
“My grandma, who is 78 and lives with us, unfortunately got it and had to be hospitalized and oxygenated for a week,” they said. “My mom, who is in her early fifties and has some health issues, was in the worst pain and had breathing problems for about two weeks. It was just really hard to see her in so much pain.”
The student said it is important for students to not undermine the severity of the virus and how it can also impact those around you.
“You might think you’re invincible but you’re not.”
“You don’t know your immune system, you might have some underlying health issues that could make it really hard for you to overcome this virus. You might think you’re invincible but you’re not,” they said. “Also, take care of those around you because you going out and spreading COVID and endangering those around you who are vulnerable can have catastrophic impacts in their lives.”