Sara Tucker, a 33-year-old from Fort Worth, Texas, recently spoke out to warn people that coronavirus not only affects younger adults with no risk factors but also makes people extremely ill.
Sara spoke with ABC affiliate WFAA 8 about her battle with COVID-19.
“I feel like my body has been through a battle like someone has just beaten me up,” she said. “As hard as it’s been for me, I can’t imagine someone who is elderly or has asthma or any sort of underlying issue.”
In a Facebook post from March 12, Sara detailed some of what she experienced as she tried to get treatment and diagnosis. She mentioned that she was in New York City from March 6 through 9 before she realized how widespread the illness had become in the United States. If she’d known, Sara said she would never have gone on the trip.
Two days after Sara got home to Texas, she started experiencing a dry cough. After the cough showed up, she also had a mild fever that spiked, painful body aches, and shortness of breath. She was surprised to pick up coronavirus on the trip because she’d been meticulous about keeping her hands washed and not touching things.
“I was SO diligent about hand washing, not touching, using sanitizer,” Sara wrote on her social media.
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#Repost @cdcgov ・・・ Practice social distancing by putting space between yourself and others. Continue to practice healthy habits to help slow the spread of #COVID19. • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds • Clean and then disinfect frequently used surfaces • Stay home if you’re sick • Avoid touching your face Learn more about staying safe and healthy at www.coronavirus.gov. #CDC #PublicHealth
Eventually, Sara’s body aches got so bad that she went to a walk-in clinic, where she tested negative for the flu. Medical professionals at the clinic attempted to get her tested for COVID-19. They called the Tarrant County Health Department, but they weren’t able to get her tested because she didn’t fit the criteria and wasn’t high risk. Ultimately, doctors advised Sara to go home and self-quarantine. However, when Sara took a turn for the worse, her husband took her to the emergency room after attempting to call her doctor, the health department, and 211 for help. Yet, since it was a Sunday, they were unable to get through.
Sara’s husband wore a mask and went inside to let the ER staff know his wife’s situation. They isolated her in a room, and an X-ray confirmed that the 33-year-old had pneumonia. Even then, Sara wasn’t able to get a COVID-19 test because she wasn’t in the high-risk category. Ultimately, after calling her insurance company, she found a doctor and got tested, receiving a positive test on Tuesday. The confirmation meant that she was the seventh positive case in Tarrant County.
“People kept saying it only affects old people, but here I am, you know,” she said. “I’m 30-something, and it’s been awful. It’s very serious. It’s not something that’s made up. I’ve experienced great pain. All the symptoms. It’s been scary. There’s been times where I thought, ‘Am I going to get better from this?'”
Neither Sara’s husband nor the friend she visited in the Big Apple has shown signs of coronavirus, but they both remain quarantined. In all, Sara is glad that she’s the one who got the illness instead of somebody older or higher risk.