MEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — Data from around the world shows that, while there’s a certain population at higher risk for COVID-19, it can affect people of all ages.
In Massachusetts, more than half of the reported cases are people under the age of 60 and nearly 14% of those cases involve people in their 20s.
Health officials have told the public that younger people who get diagnosed with COVID-19 have typically handled the virus better — but that is not the case for everyone.
Kara VanGuilder, 25, of Medford, is a runner who was recently training for a 10K, but the virus almost gave her no hope of survival.
“I was like ‘God, please help me, I’m in so much pain. I don’t think I can take this another day,'” she recalled. “I had texted my mom twice and said ‘I’m not sure if I’m going to make it.'”
VanGuilder said she is relatively healthy and never thought she would get it, until early March when she began to experience symptoms. She recalls having a fever and body chills for three days, but then those symptoms came back and hit her harder a week later.
“Then all of a sudden I just had a horrible fever,” she said. “I was feeling the worst I’ve ever felt and was diagnosed with pneumonia.”
VanGuilder then went to an urgent care center where doctors recommended she get tested for COVID-19 at another location.
“I’m sweating on my forehead to the point that I’m having to brush the sweat off to see,” she said. “The virus attacked my body so intensely there wasn’t anything more I could do.”
After a few weeks of self-isolating in her apartment, she said she’s tired, but now has hope that her body has seen the worst of the virus. She hopes her story shows others that just because you are young and healthy, it doesn’t make you immune.
“You should be staying home at all times unless deemed necessary,” VanGuilder said.
Her re-test for the virus came back negative and she said that for now, she will now only leave her apartment for medical appointments.