JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – As coronavirus cases climb, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says there’s a noticeable increase in young people testing positive.
On Monday afternoon, the governor said the median age has consistently been in the 30s. However, the age with the most positives was 21.
Despite the number of cases, very few people in their 20s and 30s have shared their stories publicly for fear of backlash.
However, a 26-year-old woman in Jacksonville Beach who’s battling the illness said she wants to warn people of the seriousness of the sickness.
The woman, whom we’ll call Jane, told News4Jax she was one of the careful ones. She wore a mask, she didn’t go out. She stayed away from parties.
She still got sick. She wants other people her age to take this virus seriously.
“The extreme fatigue is terrible,” she said in a Zoom interview from her bedroom. “I’m an active person, and it’s been frustrating and painful that I can’t go about my day.”
Monday was day 11 since she’s had symptoms, and it was three weeks after she was exposed to COVID-19.
“I couldn’t imagine how it would be if this was severe,” Jane said. “This has been rough for me. It’s been aggravating. I can’t taste or smell anything. I have been so tired that I haven’t been able to perform my daily activity some days, and yeah, this is mild, so imagine how bad you would feel if you had a severe case.”
She works in outside sales and as a professional athlete, but she said since the lockdown began, she was extra careful, staying home, not going out and wearing a mask.
“I’ve been so cautious this entire time,” she said. “I have elderly grandparents I care a lot about. They live in Jax Beach. I try to see them as much as I can.”
“I wasn’t going out to the Jacksonville Beach restaurants when you heard place after place was closing because of cases,” she added. “I was getting frustrated with my friends who were going out and not taking this seriously because I did not want to personally get sick, and then somehow one way or the other I ended up getting it.”
She believes she got it from a family member while celebrating with her dad on the beach away from crowds on Father’s Day.
Despite DeSantis pointing out a large numbers of positive tests among millennials, many are choosing to keep their results private, for the sake of their jobs and reputations. Others continue to go out in public.
The lack of disclosure motivated Jane to post her story on Facebook as a wake-up call and a warning. Her Facebook timeline shows months of posts about wearing masks, keeping distance, staying home and staying safe.
“When you’re looking at the news and the numbers, you’re seeing all these cases go up,” she said. “But if you haven’t had that personal connection with somebody being sick, then I feel like it doesn’t always feel as real to everybody.”
Her father, who has asthma, and her stepmother are battling it as well. However, her boyfriend tested negative and feels fine, she said. She noted she is thankful for the support from friends and family who’ve dropped off food and medicine as she tries to recover. She’s worried about others who aren’t as fortunate.
“My message to you is to wear your mask, to social distance, to be mindful and respectful of others,” she said. “You personally might not care if you get sick, but think about the other people you could potentially infect in your path.”
Jane said her symptoms and emotions were on a roller coaster. She may feel better one hour and terrible the next. She hopes the worst is over and plans to take another COVID-19 test on Friday to see if she’s recovered from the virus.
“Physically felt like I could not get out of bed some days,” she said. “And it was scary.”