SEATTLE, Washington – A woman who contracted the novel coronavirus, got sick and recovered is now sharing her experience with others, hoping it will help educate people about the virus.
Elizabeth Schneider, a 37-year-old marketing manager who lives in Seattle, told KSAT that she contracted the virus at a small house party on Feb. 22. Nobody felt ill at the time, but 40% of the attendees became sick within a few days of the party, she told KSAT over the phone.
On Tuesday, after the party, Schneider said her fever spiked to 103 degrees. She also said she had a headache, severe body aches, joint pain and severe fatigue.
“I never went to the doctor because I just thought I had a nasty flu,” Schneider said.
Her friends from the party were keeping tabs on each other through Facebook, and since so many of them felt sick, one of them suggested that they contact the Seattle Flu Study -- a local research effort among medical organizations to track influenza. They sent her a kit to swab herself at home, she swabbed the inside of her nose and sent the swab back to them through the mail on March 2.
On Mar. 7, the research director with the flu study called her and told her that she had tested positive for COVID-19. By that time, she was feeling better but Schneider said she still felt “shocked” and “sobered” by the news.
Schneider said five of her friends also tested positive.
“The symptoms appear to be different depending on your constitution and/or age,” Schneider wrote on Sunday in a public post on Facebook outlining her experience.
Schneider said some other friends who were in their 40s and 50s had slightly different symptoms than she did. Each of them had a fever; hers lasted for 8 days. Some had some nausea, others had diarrhea. Very few had chest tightness or any respiratory symptoms. Schneider said the illness lasted about 10-16 days for all of her friends. One of her friends developed “low-level pneumonia,” she said, but none of them had to be hospitalized.
It’s now been 15 days since she first started feeling symptoms. She said she’s no longer in isolation, but she’s still avoiding strenuous activity and large crowds, and she’s working from home.
Schneider said she wants people to know how easily it can spread and how long it lasts.
“I know that some folks are thinking that this can’t/won’t impact them,” Schneider posted. “I hope it doesn’t but I believe that the overall lack of early and pervasive testing damaged the public’s ability to avoid the illness here in Seattle.”
Washington leads the country in COVID-19 cases. There is “sustained community transmission” there, according to the CDC with hundreds of reported cases. As of Tuesday, Texas has 21 confirmed cases and it’s not determined whether community spread has occurred. There are more than 1,000 confirmed cases across the United States, but more than 120,000 cases around the world, according to the World Health Organization.
Schneider urged others with symptoms to stay isolated and get medical care if they have respiratory distress.
“Hand washing doesn’t guarantee you won’t get sick, especially when folks without symptoms are contagious and could be standing right next to you in any given social situation," Schneider said. "You more likely than not will not die, but do you want to risk spreading it to a loved one over 60 or someone with an immunity issue? Stay healthy folks!”
Read Schnieder’s full Facebook post: