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What these 34-year-old and 26-year-old coronavirus patients have to say to young adults

CNN's Erin Burnett speaks with Valerie Wilson, a 34-year-old who was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, about her struggles to find treatment.

Posted: Mar 24, 2020 3:50 AM


They thought they were too young to be concerned about coronavirus, and then they tested positive.

Valerie Wilson, 34, and Fiona Lowenstein, 26, are telling their fellow millennials that they too need to be aware of their health in the coronavirus pandemic as they recover from infection.

More than 42,000 coronavirus cases have been reported in the United States, with at least 541 deaths -- and the numbers are climbing. Early testing showed that people with chronic conditions and older people were the most at risk for severe illness. But younger people are also getting sick and spreading the illness.

Wilson, a travel expert, brushed off her symptoms when she first got sick, she told CNN's Erin Burnett. She was overly tired and had a low fever but didn't think much of it.

Until she lost her sense of taste and smell completely.

Her doctor said she didn't sound like she had the virus, but after developing a strong cough, she was back at the office -- rushing in without an appointment.

"I just broke down in tears and told them I was really scared. With no hesitation, they tested me off the bat," she said.

She has Lyme disease and an autoimmune disorder, and said it was scary knowing those kinds of conditions can send people to the emergency room.

And while she says it is important for younger people to do their part and stay home to protect their loved ones, she also warned that their own health could likely be a concern as well.

"Young people need to understand that by the age of 30, I'd say there's a good portion of us that do have some sort of underlying condition so we all need to be aware that we could have something that makes us a little bit weaker to this virus," she said.

Lowenstein thought that her role in the pandemic would be limited to an ally for those most at risk, she told CNN's Don Lemon. But on March 13, she developed a fever.

She stayed home until she got to the point that she could barely eat or speak because it was too much strain for how short her breath had become. By the time she got to a doctor, she had to be admitted for two nights.

Though she is feeling better now, she has to be isolated until she tests negative for the virus.

Statistics for severe illness and fatalities of young adults from coronavirus are more promising than several other populations, but recent reports show they are still at risk.

A report released Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that a smaller -- but still significant -- number of young people in the US faced serious complications. Twenty percent of those hospitalized with the virus, according to the CDC, were between 20 and 44 years old.

On Wednesday, the White House's coronavirus response coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, pointed to "concerning reports coming out of France and Italy about some young people getting seriously ill, and very seriously ill in the ICUs."

And those feeling more at ease congregating at beaches, parks and restaurants are likely contributing to the virus's spread.

Birx called on "the millennial generation, our largest generation, our future generation" to practice social distancing and "really ensure that each and every one of you are protecting each other."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33509

Reported Deaths: 559
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah7274140
Marion477996
Washington461560
Umatilla300441
Clackamas246663
Malheur165030
Lane129317
Jackson11906
Deschutes87312
Yamhill77414
Jefferson5458
Polk53515
Linn53213
Morrow5136
Lincoln48113
Union4462
Benton3286
Wasco2964
Klamath2902
Hood River2520
Douglas2434
Clatsop2210
Josephine2042
Columbia1841
Coos1600
Baker982
Crook631
Tillamook530
Lake340
Wallowa331
Curry320
Sherman180
Harney120
Grant100
Gilliam80
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 819115

Reported Deaths: 15885
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2702996576
Riverside594051226
San Bernardino55203955
Orange537511268
San Diego47180783
Kern32073369
Fresno28621390
Sacramento22590416
Alameda21383412
Santa Clara21379322
San Joaquin20411456
Contra Costa16793207
Stanislaus16512362
Tulare16204263
Ventura12875150
Imperial11908320
San Francisco11275104
Monterey1005073
San Mateo9990150
Santa Barbara9164113
Merced8961143
Kings768180
Sonoma7578122
Marin6734119
Solano644571
Madera458368
San Luis Obispo361231
Placer360448
Butte284844
Yolo282855
Santa Cruz239410
Napa172713
Sutter172011
San Benito135211
Yuba11728
El Dorado11514
Mendocino95418
Shasta94320
Lassen7410
Glenn5963
Tehama5855
Lake56611
Nevada5417
Colusa5356
Humboldt5128
Calaveras32214
Amador29616
Tuolumne2274
Inyo18815
Mono1662
Siskiyou1660
Del Norte1441
Mariposa762
Plumas500
Modoc270
Trinity160
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
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