Sick and tired

Feeling the physical effects of COVID-19

Sophia Bailly, Editor in chief

For eleven days senior Gabby Wills only left her bedroom when she knew her family was not around. Wills tested positive for COVID-19 at the start of June, soon after receiving the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I was surprised I got [COVID-19] because I went the whole school year without getting it, without any dosage of the vaccine at that point,” Wills said.

Her symptoms were minor and consisted of congestion and exhaustion. She initially believed she had a sinus infection. Wills worked at Panera and attended a double reed music camp prior to testing positive.

“I was really concerned about my roommate and everyone at the camp because I didn’t want anything tragic to happen,” Wills said. “Because you just don’t know. Even though it’s not something that’s my fault entirely, I still felt responsible.”

Wills said she hopes the stigma surrounding COVID-19 cases among her peers will stop.

“I know that people who contract COVID-19 are sometimes treated like leopards,” Wills said. “There is a lot of guilt and shame and blame placed on people. I think this has brought out the worst in us. It has also brought out the best in how we come together.”

While Wills recovered in time for the start of the school year, junior Abby Hedrick was sent home on the third day of school, after her mom tested positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 12. Hedrick tested positive Aug. 19 and said her symptoms were minor. She is not vaccinated due to health concerns.

“When I got my meningitis vaccine in seventh grade, I had a seizure,” Hedrick said. “So now my parents are super worried about vaccines in general.”

While Hedrick said she had “bad symptoms for one day” with a fever, she felt tired and sore during recovery. Her mom, dad and brother all tested positive while quarantined. Her dad was emitted to the hospital soon after testing positive. 

“Everything was just coming down at once, because I was trying to make up all of this school work,” Hedrick said. “All of my teachers were super caring and asked how I was doing and how my family was doing.”

Hedrick’s father returned home on Aug. 23, and she said he was improving each day and building up strength. Her father lost his cousin to COVID-19 in 2020, who Hedrick said was like an uncle to her. While she said COVID-19 is an evident issue, she believes in time it will become similar to the flu where it “evolves and gets weaker” and eventually will “not be a big deal.”

Sheila Mcleod, MD, a board certified pediatrician for Health First said there 

is no set guideline as to how COVID-19 physically 

impacts the teenage demographic.

“Where we will be as far as COVID goes in the months to come is really hard to predict,” Mcleod said. “It’s impossible to say. We don’t know what’s going to happen with this virus. All viruses mutate, and the more virus that circulates in the community, the more virus that will spread, because it’s reproducing.”

Mcleod said the degree of symptoms ranges from asymptomatic to hospitalization. Senior Abby Stirna said she developed a headache the weekend of Aug.     14. She woke up with a fever and decided to stay home from school and work. A few days later her COVID-19 PCR test came back positive.

“Honestly, my family’s reaction was kind of funny,” Stirna said. “Because then they started to take [COVID-19] a little more seriously. At first my parents were like, ‘Oh, maybe we should still send [your siblings] to school.’ And I told them it wasn’t the best idea.”

Stirna said she is not currently vaccinated as a minor.

“There’s a lot of fear around having COVID-19 and going to the hospital,” Stirna said. “Take precautions, and if you end up getting COVID-19, have the thought that you’re going to be fine. Because most likely you will.”

With the Delta Variant, Mcleod said the medical field has seen “a significant increase in the amount of cases in children 18 years and less.” She said getting vaccinated, wearing masks and avoiding large, indoor gatherings is recommended, but she understands the psychological strain the pandemic continues to have on teenagers.

“Maintaining relationships with friends as best as possible within the limits of the recommendations is so important,” Mcleod said. “Getting back to school last year was huge at improving the mental health of our children.”

Wills said after losing part of her summer and facing the cancellation of music-related events after five years in the band program, she will not let COVID-19 run her life.

“Even though everyone is uncertain of what is going to happen, you’re never going to get this specific day again.” Wills said. “You still have to embrace life, even with COVID-19.”