Greta Thunberg believes she might have contracted the coronavirus. The teenage climate activist said that she felt the symptoms of the illness, but was unable to get tested in her home country of Sweden because her symptoms were not severe enough. In a post on Instagram, Thunberg wrote that she has “basically recovered” from the illness, but that she has spent the last few weeks in self-quarantine from her mother and sister after her family traveled to Brussels.
Thunberg said that both she and her 50-year-old father began feeling ill following their return from the trip. In the post, she said that she felt fatigued, had a sore throat and a cough, and shivers. She said her dad experienced those same symptoms, but that they were more severe and he also had a fever.
At the time when Thunberg was sick, Swedes could not be tested unless they were in emergency care. Because the 17-year-old’s symptoms weren’t considered severe, she was told to stay home and isolate herself.
Thunberg also said that she didn’t feel very ill and wouldn’t have suspected that she had contracted the virus if someone else in her family had not been sick at the same time. The activist said that young people especially may be less likely to notice the symptoms, and are therefore at a higher risk of spreading the illness because they don’t realize they are sick.
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The last two weeks I’ve stayed inside. When I returned from my trip around Central Europe I isolated myself (in a borrowed apartment away from my mother and sister) since the number of cases of COVID-19 (in Germany for instance) were similar to Italy in the beginning. Around ten days ago I started feeling some symptoms, exactly the same time as my father – who traveled with me from Brussels. I was feeling tired, had shivers, a sore throat and coughed. My dad experienced the same symptoms, but much more intense and with a fever. In Sweden you can not test yourself for COVID-19 unless you’re in need of emergent medical treatment. Everyone feeling ill are told to stay at home and isolate themselves. I have therefore not been tested for COVID-19, but it’s extremely likely that I’ve had it, given the combined symptoms and circumstances. Now I’ve basically recovered, but – AND THIS IS THE BOTTOM LINE: I almost didn’t feel ill. My last cold was much worse than this! Had it not been for someone else having the virus simultainously I might not even have suspected anything. Then I would just have thought I was feeling unusually tired with a bit of a cough. And this it what makes it so much more dangerous. Many (especially young people) might not notice any symptoms at all, or very mild symptoms. Then they don’t know they have the virus and can pass it on to people in risk groups. We who don’t belong to a risk group have an enormous responsibility, our actions can be the difference between life and death for many others. Please keep that in mind, follow the advice from experts and your local authorities and #StayAtHome to slow the spread of the virus. And remember to always take care of each other and help those in need. #COVID #flattenthecurve
The climate activist concluded her message by offering a call to action for her followers. She said that those who are not in a high-risk group have a responsibility to stay inside and flatten the curve. She told her followers to stay at home to slow the spread of the virus and remember those who are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill as they make the sacrifice.
Thunberg’s announcement that she suspects she contracted the illness is just the latest in a wave of celebrities and public figures who have tested positive for COVID-19. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul announced over the weekend that he was the first member of the Senate to be diagnosed with the disease, and Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Idris Elba and a slew of other celebrities have also received positive test results.
Europe has been one of the regions hardest hit by the virus, although Sweden still has far fewer cases than countries like Italy, Spain, and France. On Tuesday afternoon, The New York Times reported that almost 70,000 people in Europe have tested positive for coronavirus.