KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A 20-year-old woman in Manhattan, hospitalized with COVID-19, hopes her story will hit the homes of young people who do not take the virus seriously.
Cecilia Erker noticed a loss of appetite in early July and didn’t think much of it. However, when she woke up the next day, she had all the classic symptoms.
“I’ve never been sicker in my life,” Erker said. “I felt like I was hit by a bus, I was running at 102 degrees of fever, I had a cough, I was vomiting.”;
Erker was isolated at home, but did not improve. She completed several trips to the ER in Manhattan and had CT scans and chest X-rays. She learned that she had a secondary infection in her lungs.
Doctors told her she needed more intensive care and was sent to the Medical Center of the University of Kansas, where she spent three days in the ICU and five days in isolation in the COVID wing.
She has developed a secondary infection and will undergo surgery to remove most of her lungs next week.
Erker said she lived an active and healthy lifestyle before positive testing.
“I never thought I’d be in this position to be two weeks after turning 21, and I’m basically losing my lungs,” Erker said.
Erker described the experience as terrible, but hopes it will hit the homes of those who do not take the virus seriously.
“It’s very real; no one is invincible, no one is immune, it doesn’t matter if you are young, old, healthy,” Erker said.
Erker is one of the growing cases of young people across the country. Missouri and Kansas currently have the highest number of cases in the 20-30 age group.
Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection control and prevention at the University of Kansas Health System, said the assembly was likely to be at fault.
“If we remember to wear masks and gather in small groups, certainly less than 10 is much safer in smaller groups than larger groups, we can actually start reducing the spread of the disease,” Hawkinson said.
Erker hopes that others think of her story when they think against this advice.
“I went to restaurants, I went with friends and now I pay the price for it and I’m sorry. If I could take it back, I would do it, “Erker said.