KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A 20-year-old Manhattan woman hospitalized with COVID-19 hopes her story will come home with young people who do not take the virus seriously.
Cecilia Erker first noticed the loss of taste in early July and did not think too much about it. However, when he woke up the next day, he had all the classic symptoms.
“I’ve never been more ill in my life,” Erker said. “I felt like I got hit by a bus, I was having a 102 degree fever, I was coughing, I was vomiting.”
Erker was isolated at home but failed to get better. He made several trips to the ER in Manhattan and did CT scans and chest X-rays. He discovered that he had developed a secondary infection in his lungs.
Doctors told her that she needed more intensive care, and was sent to the University of Kansas Medical Center, where she spent three days in isolation in the ICU and five days in the Kovid wing.
She developed a secondary infection and would undergo surgery to remove most of her lungs the following week.
Acker said she was living an active and healthy lifestyle before testing positive.
“I never thought I’d be in this situation, two weeks away from being 21, and I’m basically losing a lung,” Erker said.
Erker described the experience as terrible, but he hopes it will enter the house with people who don’t take the virus seriously.
“It’s very real; no one is invincible, no one is immune, it doesn’t matter if you’re young, old, healthy,” said Irker.
Iker is one of the cases of increasing age among youngsters across the country. In Missouri and Kansas, people aged 20–30 are currently showing the most cases.
Medical Director of Infection Control and Prevention at the University of Kansas Health System, Drs. Dana Hawkinson said the gatherings were likely to blame.
“If we can remember wearing our masks and gathering in small groups, it is certainly less safe to have 10 in small groups than in large groups, we can actually start reducing the spread of the disease, “Hawkinson said.
Irker hopes that others will think of his story when they consider going against that advice.
“I walked out to the restaurant, hung out with friends, and now I’m paying the price for it, and I regret it. If I could get it back, I could,” said Erker.