26-year-old tests positive for coronavirus, wants more young people to take it seriously

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – When the coronavirus pandemic started, many reports said it mainly targeted older people who had underlying conditions.

A recent CNN article said the trend across the nation is changing, now affecting younger people like Hannah McDowell.

“I used to think like, “ah it’s not going to be any big deal, I’m young. I’ll be fine,'” McDowell said. “And I was not fine…I’m still not fine.”

The article said it could be because stay at home orders are lifted, allowing younger people to hang out in groups and go to the bars. The trend seems to be true in Shawnee County as well. According to the health department’s website, the group most affected by the virus is people between the ages of 25 and 34, making up 151 of the 747 total cases. That number now includes McDowell, who is 26.

She never expected to test positive but said she got the virus from hanging out with a group of close friends over Father’s Day weekend.

“It didn’t break my heart for me cause I instantly was broken-hearted about everyone that I had been in contact with,” McDowell said. “That was the scariest part I think.”

She said for the first five days after the weekend gathering, she felt her normal self, aside from what she thought were seasonal allergies.

“I felt wonderful so my week was fine,” McDowell said. “All week long I went to my job. You know, I exercised.”

Then one Saturday while at a bonfire, she found out other people who were at the gathering on Father’s Day Weekend had tested positive for the coronavirus. That’s when she said her symptoms started to change.

“Then it was that night when I was like I can’t even smell the fire,” McDowell said. “I’m like can you smell the fire? This is weird.”

So the next day she got tested and learned a couple of days later the test was positive. Seven days into her symptoms, she said she felt the worst.

“That was when the body aches came, the fever, the shortness of breath,” McDowell said.

As well as nausea and a lack of appetite.

Nearly two weeks into isolation from friends and family, she’s urging people around her age to follow recommended safety guidelines to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“It’s not a joke. It’s not funny, the parties you go to aren’t worth it,” McDowell said. “It is horrible. Doesn’t matter who you are, it’ll kick you down and it’ll keep you down for a long time and it sucks.”

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