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Coronavirus Patient Urges Young People To Socially Distance

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

So there have been some stories, some suggestions that only the elderly and only those with underlying health conditions are at real risk from the coronavirus. Well, here's the story of one college student who shows that that is simply not the case.

MIA MARROQUIN: I'm Mia Marroquin. I am 20 years old. And last Sunday, I found out that I tested positive for COVID-19.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Mia went on a trip to Spain in early March. This was a time when she knew there were already a couple hundred cases of COVID-19 there. She says that she was, quote, "equipped with Lysol wipes, hand sanitizer and my naive attitude."

GREENE: Mia eventually cut her vacation short when the situation started getting really bad. Only once she got back did she start to experience these fever symptoms.

MARROQUIN: I had a bit of a sore throat, but I didn't really think anything of it. I just thought it was, you know, jet lag, being tired, being dehydrated. So I woke up 10 a.m. the next morning, and I was burning up. I took my temperature, and I had 104-degree fever.

MARTIN: It wasn't long after that things started to get really bad.

MARROQUIN: Every time I tried to breathe, it's like there's a stack of bricks on my lungs. A week prior, I was just hanging out in Spain, you know, being my healthy, fun, 20-year-old self, and a week later I was laying in bed, miserable, gasping for air. And while I'm experiencing this, I look on my phone. I look on social media, and I see young people, my peers continuing their spring break trips, continuing to party and gather in large groups.

GREENE: She says her experience is just more evidence that young people have to take this situation very seriously.

MARROQUIN: It isn't just the vulnerable populations that need to be concerned; this can affect anyone, and it's our social responsibility to do our parts and say, stay home if possible.

MARTIN: The voice of Mia Marroquin, a junior at St. Mary's College in South Bend, Ind. Mia is encouraging people her age to listen to public health officials, to practice social distancing for others but also for yourself.

(SOUNDBITE OF PHELIAN'S "INTRO") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.