A 22-year-old coronavirus patient has described losing the ability to taste food and feeling so weak she “could barely walk” during the height of her illness.
Melbourne woman Tessa told The New Daily she wanted other young Australians to realise they were not invincible – and that their choices had potentially deadly consequences.
“My body was aching – the whole body. I could barely get out of bed,” she said.
“The worst was last Thursday when my symptoms were on full. I was really nauseous, vomiting, I had no appetite – I had no energy at all.”
She said she had been self-isolating before developing the infection, showing how the virus can easily spread.
“Our parents have been lecturing us to be careful and next minute, we all had it,” Tessa said.
“My sister was the first one to get it. She does the main grocery shopping, so that’s where we suspect she got it from.”
Another virus survivor named Michael, featured in a government campaign on Sunday, described having the virus as “like drowning”.
The warnings came as a man aged in his 40s was listed among 10 Victorians to die in one day at the weekend.
But while Saturday was the nation’s deadliest day during the pandemic, health authorities said there are some promising signs restrictions are working.
“Those numbers (in Victoria) are not doubling on a week by week basis, we have reached a relatively steady state for the moment of numbers between about 350 and 450 per day,” Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth said.
NSW and Western Australia were the only other states to record new cases on Sunday.
Western Australia recorded two new cases, both in hotel quarantine.
NSW recorded 14 new cases including six associated with the Thai Rock restaurant cluster in Wetherill Park which is linked to a total of 67 cases.
On Sunday morning, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced 459 new infections, with 228 people currently in Victorian hospitals, including 42 in intensive care.
Young people in intensive care
As of Monday morning, 155 Australians had died of the coronavirus and 14403 had contracted the virus.
The recent deaths included seven which were linked to outbreaks in aged-care homes which are under fire from families.
Three women, aged in their 70s and 80s died. The seven men who died included three in their 70s, two in their 80s and one aged in his 60s.
The youngest victim was aged in his 40s.
Mr Andrews said the hospital patients include two children, and eight people under the age of 30 “with no idea how long they might be there, or just how bad it might get”.
His announcement followed a lengthy Facebook post in which he called upon young people to follow stay-at-home rules, and to call out any friends who were ignoring them.
I promise this isn't a lecture, or a lesson – and I'm not trying to blame you for anything either.I'm not your dad, I'…
“Chances are, you probably know someone who isn’t following the rules,” Mr Andrews wrote.
But while messaging had been focused on young people, it seemed at the weekend that ignorance knows no age limit.
A woman dubbed ‘Bunnings Karen’ was among the so-called anti-maskers slammed for “selfish” refusal to comply with safety laws.
- Read this and watch the videos to see how ‘Bunnings Karen’ and others have been filming themselves flouting the rules.
Patient fears others aren’t taking the virus seriously
Tessa, who lives in Balwyn North with her three siblings, worries about the risk imposed by people who aren’t following the rules.
Unlike some other people who have continued to catch up with friends during lockdown, Tessa said she and her siblings had been self-isolating for weeks as a precaution.
A scratchy throat on July 14 was the first sign something was wrong.
Then came the extreme fever and body aches.
Tessa worries about long-term consequences, and asked for her surname to be omitted as she worries the stigma of having coronavirus could impact her work.
As Tessa’s symptoms worsened last week, so did her anxiety.
“It was not knowing what was going to happen – that’s the scariest part,” she said.
“It’s a serious thing and no one knows much about it.”
Her advice to other young people?
“A lot of us think we’re invincible, but we’re not,” Tessa said.
“If we weren’t in lockdown right now, I would’ve easily met my friends and gone out to eat. We could be spending just 10 minutes together, and that’s enough for them to get it.
“Even if it’s once a week with your friends, it’s enough to create some real damage if you have it.”
As she slowly recovers from COVID-19, Tessa still hasn’t regained her sense of smell and taste.
Light exercise and household chores are now exhausting, too.
“Usually, I can vacuum the whole house with no problem, but now if I vacuum one area I need to sit down,” she said.
“I just feel really tired all the time.”