Australian expat Annita Katee reacted to early news about the coronavirus like many millennials did, believing that it only put a strain on older people with underlying health conditions.

As a 26-year-old regular exerciser with a very healthy diet, Annita didn’t fit into that category, so the Los Angeles-based writer dismissed the disease in January.

Three months later, the world is a completely different place – and Annita is a completely different person.

She has been recovering from COVID-19 for the past three weeks after being rushed to hospital because she ‘couldn’t breathe’. 

Annita has been recovering from COVID-19 for the past three weeks after being rushed to hospital because she ‘couldn’t breathe’

Annita felt like her only issue would be trying to locate some toilet paper (pictured)

‘I first heard about the coronavirus in early January but didn’t think much of it. I had a trip to Australia planned in mid-February and didn’t think if I was to travel just a few weeks later it could be cancelled,’ she told FEMAIL. 

‘I would be lying if I said at that point in time I didn’t see it as anything but a strain on older people… I definitely had a “it won’t happen to me” mentality.

‘It was only after I returned back to Los Angeles on March 9 that I saw how serious it was getting. I was lucky to come back when I did because only a few days later the US borders closed and my city was placed into lockdown.’

Annita took several precautions after the lockdown began, including working from home, taking one daily ‘sanity’ walk, and a weekly grocery shop

Annita took several precautions after the lockdown began, including working from home, taking a ‘sanity’ walk once daily, and doing a weekly grocery shop.

She didn’t see her friends or go out to bars, instead choosing to remain at home. But the precautions weren’t enough to keep her safe.   

‘I got my first symptom on Friday March 27. A dry chesty cough. And while just a cough at that stage, I ensured I didn’t step outside for even a walk, just in case,’ she said.

The cough turned into shortness of breath and then a fever three days later. She spoke to a doctor over the phone who diagnosed her with a ‘suspected COVID-19 virus infection’ on March 30.

There was no way to test her at the time because the United States has a shortage of testing supplies, but Annita was grateful that her symptoms were mild enough that she could recover at home.

ANNITA’S CORONAVIRUS TIMELINE

March 27: Annita develops a dry, chesty cough, one of the most common symptoms of the coronavirus.

March 30: The cough has turned into shortness of breath and a fever. She was diagnosed over the phone with a ‘suspected Covid-19 virus infection’.

March 31: Had a cough, fever, no energy, her muscles were aching and any movement around her studio apartment was ‘like running a marathon’. 

April 3: Besides a cough she started to feel better and some of the symptoms disappeared. By 8pm that night she could hardly breathe and was rushed to hospital.

April 4: Stays in hospital overnight and was given oxygen. 

April 5: Is tested for coronavirus at a drive-thru swab clinic.

April 7: Receives news that she has tested positive for coronavirus. 

April 7 – April 15: Has had ‘good days’ of symptoms with just a cough and ‘bad days’ where the aches and chills reappear alongside a fever. She is still recovering at home.

There was no way to test her at the time because the United States has a shortage on testing supplies, but she was grateful that her symptoms were mild enough that she could recover at home

On March 31 Annita, who suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome and asthma, had no energy, her muscles were aching and any movement around her studio apartment was ‘like running a marathon’.  

‘Things stayed much the same over the next few days before really improving on Friday April 3. I still had a cough, but besides that, I felt so much better,’ she said.

‘I was getting ready for bed when out of the blue, the breathlessness and tight chest returned and was worsening by the minute.

‘There are no medical centres in Los Angeles, like Australia, so at 8:00pm, there was no other choice but to go to the hospital. I could barely breathe.’

Worried about the medical system in general, Annita was surprised by the incredible treatment she was offered as an outpatient at a Los Angeles hospital

Worried about the medical system in general, Annita was surprised by the incredible treatment she was offered as an outpatient.

She was placed in a room by herself and given some oxygen.  

‘I stayed there overnight before feeling better and returning home in the morning. I had my blood tested, chest x-rayed, and was given various drips but I still wasn’t tested for coronavirus,’ she said. 

CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 6,440

New South Wales: 2,886

Victoria: 1,299

Queensland: 999

South Australia: 433

Western Australia: 527

Australian Capital Territory: 103

Tasmania: 165

Northern Territory: 28

TOTAL CASES:  6,440

RECOVERED: 3,624

DEAD: 63

‘They were so low on tests that they only had enough for those admitted into the hospital. I thankfully got better over the night as an outpatient, but that meant according to their procedures, I couldn’t be tested.’

The following day Annita qualified for a drive-thru swab test and was able to claim the one vacant spot available. She received a positive result on April 7. 

It’s still not known how she caught it, particularly given she was only outside for necessities. 

It has been 19 days since her first symptom appeared and Annita is still recovering, some days feeling only a slight ache and cough, while others noticing an extreme tightness in her chest with fevers, aches and chills. 

As far as she knows the 26-year-old hasn’t passed the disease onto anyone else, including her family who live in Sydney, Australia

‘My focus has been on keeping as strong as possible mentally while fuelling my body with nutritiously rich foods and getting as much sleep and rest as possible,’ she said

As far as she knows the 26-year-old hasn’t passed the disease onto anyone else, including her family who live in Sydney, Australia.  

‘There’s no medicine or drug to help heal faster. I have been taking over-the-counter medicine for the fevers and using my asthma inhaler to open my lungs up, but nothing else,’ she said.

I’m 26, I eat healthy, exercise regularly and besides a few health conditions, I’m a young and fit millennial

‘My focus has been on keeping as strong as possible mentally while fuelling my body with nutritiously-rich foods and getting as much sleep and rest as possible. 

‘I haven’t had much of an appetite or the energy to cook for most of the past three weeks, so I’ve been so lucky to have had friends who have done so for me and left meals at my doorstep.

‘My friends have been grocery shopping for me, going to the chemist for me, cooking for me, putting together Easter baskets for me, and most importantly, checking in regularly and lifting my spirits every single day. I credit my healing to them.’ 

‘My friends have been grocery shopping for me, going to the chemist for me, cooking for me, putting together Easter baskets for me, and most importantly, checking in regularly and lifting my spirits every single day,’ she said

Coronavirus symptoms and how it spreads: 

Symptoms of coronavirus

Symptoms can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. People with coronavirus may experience:  

fever flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and fatigue shortness of breath

How it spreads 

There is evidence that the virus spreads from person-to-person. The virus is most likely spread through:

close contact with an infectious personcontact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneezetouching objects or surfaces (like doorknobs or tables) that have cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person, and then touching your mouth or face 

How to prevent it

Everyone should practice good hygiene to protect against infections. Good hygiene includes:

washing your hands often with soap and waterusing a tissue and cover your mouth when you cough or sneezeavoiding close contact with others, such as touching

While the main global effort still remains on reducing the elderly’s exposure to the virus, Annita is no longer blasé about the effects of the coronavirus on people her own age.   

‘I’m 26, I eat healthy, exercise regularly and besides a few health conditions, I’m a young and fit millennial,’ she said.

Annita is healing at home in Los Angeles

‘New findings are showing younger people are having greater hospitalisations. We shouldn’t be complacent and live with a ‘”it won’t happen to me” attitude. COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate.

‘And while younger people may have a stronger immune system to fight off the virus, the threat lies in them being a carrier and passing it on to someone who’s not as strong. If you don’t want to stay in and follow procedures for yourself, do it for your loved ones.’ 

You can follow Annita on YouTube, Instagram or listen to her latest podcast. 



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