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A Covid-19 patient's advice to fellow millennials: Take this seriously

A suburban woman says she wishes she had taken the threat of Covid-19 more to heart. But she was out in the community weeks ago, socializing on occasion but also stocking up for her family's coming isolation.

Now, she has the virus, too.

"In order to stop the spread, we need to stay home," Mercedez Deshae Mitchell, of Williamsville, said on her Facebook page. "I wish that is something I really would have took seriously."

She said her illness has affected her family, her fiance's family and her friends.

"I had to tell all my friends, 'I know you are scared of this virus but, guess what, I have it, and you could have it, too,' " she said in her video testimonial.

As of Tuesday morning, people between the ages of 20 and 40 made up 41 percent of Erie County's Covid-19 cases.

"I am a 28-year-old female," Mitchell explained to her Facebook followers, "and I have the virus. Do I feel like I am going to die? Probably not. It does, to me, feel like a common cold. Only problem is, my head is pounding all the time."

She's a health care worker herself, a nurse, but thinks she caught it out in the community, not in a health care setting. Her last contact with any patients was days before she felt the illness coming on, she told The Buffalo News.

She began showing symptoms around March 12, she said, and visited an emergency room. With her headache, cough and congestion persisting four days later, she returned to the emergency room and was tested for the novel coronavirus.

On March 18, she found out she had tested positive. Her family was then tested at the Erie County Health Department's drive-up site in Lancaster. Fortunately, those tests came back negative, she said.

She has isolated herself in a room of her house, away from her fiance and her two sons. The boys, ages 6 and 18 months, don't really understand why she's alone, she said.

"My 6-year-old asked 'were my legs broken?' because I never come downstairs," she said.

Her mother has dropped off provisions. The family is awaiting a shipment of groceries due Friday. The county Health Department checks in regularly. She takes vitamins to boost her immune system.

"The hardest part of this is keeping my mental state," she said. And dealing with the fatigue – the symptom that makes this virus different than any flu she has caught in the past. "Just taking a shower makes me short of breath,'' she said.

With all her idle time, she tried to rearrange drawers and closet space in her room, and that, too, exhausted her. She said she can get a good night's sleep of nine to 10 hours, be up for a couple of hours and need to rest again.

Still, she said she's fortunate that her bout with Covid-19 is not life-threatening, as it has been not just for the elderly but for people of her generation. She mentioned the 33-year-old man from North Tonawanda who the Niagara County Health Department says is in intensive care.

She said she posted her messages on Facebook to urge people, especially people of her generation, to take the novel coronavirus seriously. She confessed that she had made jokes about it, and socialized with friends before she knew she had it. Now, she realizes she put others at risk.

"I think people of my era, they didn't take it seriously until the knew somebody that it affected," she said.

"At the end of the day, you have to take care of yourself and your family," she added. "You have to take the proper precautions. The sooner we can quarantine ourselves, we can stop the spread."

Recalling how horrible she felt when she realized she had jeopardized the health of people close, she urged others to imagine the guilt they would feel if they harmed someone by spreading Covid-19 to them.

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