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An Iowa teen who contracted the novel coronavirus has a stark warning for those who have been fortunate enough to avoid illness: Take COVID-19 seriously.
Dimitri Mitchell, 18, of Cedar Rapids, said he first noticed symptoms of the novel virus — said to include fever, shortness of breath and cough — after taking a trip with friends in March.
“At first it started out with a cough, but it started getting worse and worse, I was coughing up tons of mucus. But then one night, that’s the night I went to the emergency room, I started getting fevers and I started sweating a lot,” Mitchell told local news station WHO-TV.
His mother, Irene Yoder, said her son “did not look like himself” when he was ill, noting that his eyes were “so puffy and swollen.” The teen also had trouble speaking, and was “very fatigued.”
“I had never seen my son so sick, I was so scared,” she said.
The teen was later tested for COVID-19 and was found to be positive. Later, his mother also reportedly tested positive for the virus. Both are self-isolated in their rooms and are now on the mend, no longer suffering from a fever but still battling a “slight cough,” as per WHO-TV.
“It’s deep and dry,” Yoder said of the cough. “I feel like broken glass [is] going through my throat, deep in my chest. It burns like a fire.”
Mitchell is now encouraging others — especially young adults — to take the virus seriously, namely by adhering to social distancing guidelines.
“Make sure you’re practicing all the social distancing guidelines and things like that and don’t underestimate it because it’s here, it’s real and it doesn’t mess around, you can get seriously affected by it,” Mitchell said, adding: “I definitely did have a false sense of security. I never thought I would get it.”