News, Culture & Society

Iowa coronavirus victim, 18, felt like he’d been ‘hit by a truck’ and warns it can happen to anyone

An 18-year-old boy from Iowa who never thought he would get coronavirus ‘in a million years’, has said he felt like he was ‘hit by a truck’ and has warned other young people ‘it can happen to anyone’.

Dimitri Mitchell started showing symptoms of COVID-19 on March 13, when he developed a high fever of 105 degrees and a cough.

‘I was bedridden all day and I felt totally drained … my eyes wouldn’t stop watering, I had the worst headache I’ve ever experienced and my cough was just getting worse and worse,’ Mitchell told Good Morning America.

‘It’s the most sick I’ve ever been and I told my mom I felt like I was hit by a truck.’

Mitchell added: ‘Each time you would cough, it hurts, and you have that burning sensation.’

In Iowa, there were at least 869 cases of coronavirus and 22 deaths as of Monday morning.

Iowa boy Dimitri Mitchell, 18, tested positive for the novel coronavirus on March 17

'I was bedridden all day and I felt totally drained ... my eyes wouldn't stop watering, I had the worst headache I've ever experienced' he told GMA it began

‘I was bedridden all day and I felt totally drained … my eyes wouldn’t stop watering, I had the worst headache I’ve ever experienced’ he told GMA it began

His mother Irena Yoder took him to the emergency room where she works as a lab technician and he was tested for strep, the flu and pneumonia. 

All of the results returned negative. He was also given a steroid shot as treatment.

Yoder explained that due to his age, the boy of Tiffin didn’t qualify to have a coronavirus test, according to Iowa Department of Public Health and State Hygienic Lab criteria.

‘I was really concerned that it was coronavirus,’ Yoder told GMA. ‘He [wasn’t] meeting criteria to have this test done on him. They said, “He’s under 60 years old and he will find his body is strong and he will fight this.” So, they sent us home.’

Yoder stayed home with her son – a student at community college – but that night his symptoms worsened. 

She said she had an inkling he was sick with coronavirus.

‘He was sweating with a fever, his eyes were so swollen,’ Yoder said. ‘He was breathing hard. He could barely walk. He could barely speak. He was like, “Mom what do I have?”‘

‘I was trying to cheer him up saying, “It’s going to be OK.” Deep inside, I was so worried.’ 

The mother added: ‘I would go afterwards and cry in my bedroom or just listen behind his door and in our hallway, how well he’s doing, but I would never show to him I was so worried. I wanted to keep myself positive.’ 

He added he was 105 degrees and 'my cough was just getting worse and worse'

He was sent home from hospital twice before he was tested

He added he was 105 degrees and ‘my cough was just getting worse and worse’. He was sent home from hospital twice before he was tested

He initially wasn't tested because he was under the age of 60 but after a call to 211, an operator recommended he be tested

He initially wasn’t tested because he was under the age of 60 but after a call to 211, an operator recommended he be tested

The student is a part-time grocery store clerk

He thinks he may have contracted the virus at work

The student is a part-time grocery store clerk and thinks he may have contracted the virus at work

The mother took him back to the ER the following day on March 16.

They returned to hospital a second time.

‘The doctor told us because I didn’t have any problems breathing, the reason they were sending us home was because they didn’t want me to potentially spread the virus to other people,’ Mitchell explained to KCRG. 

He was only tested after a recommendation from the Iowa Department of Health’s 211 hotline and the results for COVID-19 were positive.

Although initial advice positioned the virus as something to particularly watch out for in older people, more cases around the world have shown young people getting seriously ill and dying.

About 29 percent of cases are in people aged 20 to 44, according to the CDC and Mitchell’s age group, people aged 19 and under, represent five percent of cases.

‘Every 10 to 15 mins I was checking on him because he was breathing so hard and I was so scared,’ Yoder said.

‘I never thought my son would get it. He was perfectly healthy, playing sports. So what we’ll learn [is] it can hit any age of people. It doesn’t ask permission.’

At the time of his GMA interview, Mitchell had been without a fever for a week and was recovering.

He left a warning for other people his age to take the coronavirus seriously and stick to social distancing guidelines.

The part-time grocery store clerk believes he may have contracted it at work, although his mother said he was extra careful and constantly washing his hands.

‘Even when I heard that it spread to my home state, I still never thought that I would get it — never in a million years,’ Mitchell said on a video call. ‘Being 18 and hearing about all the headlines saying it only affects older people, it gave me even more false security I guess. I thought I could go out and be perfectly fine.

‘I think no matter what your age is regardless if you have health conditions or not, make sure you follow the social distancing guidelines. Don’t treat it like you’re immune and you can’t get affected.’

Mitchell was cleared from quarantine this Saturday and went for a walk for the first time in two weeks. 

Yoder has started to display symptoms but is unable to get a test. 

Mitchell said he didn't think he was was at risk

Even his mother was surprised he got ill

Mitchell said he didn’t think he was was at risk and even his mother was surprised he got ill, they said in a video chat

Irena Yoder is a lab technician at the hospital where the boy was treated and says she is currently displaying coronavirus symptoms but cannot get a test

Irena Yoder is a lab technician at the hospital where the boy was treated and says she is currently displaying coronavirus symptoms but cannot get a test

Above shows the trend of coronavirus cases per day in the US from mid-March until April

Above shows the trend of coronavirus cases per day in the US from mid-March until April

CDC: HOW TO SLOW THE CORONAVIRUS SPREAD

DO FACE MASKS MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND WHAT SHOULD YOU WEAR IF YOU CAN’T GET ONE?

Americans are increasingly being spotted wearing face masks in public amid the coronavirus pandemic, as are people are around the globe.

Soon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may advise all Americans to cover their faces when they leave the house, the Washington Post reported.  

The agency is weighing that recommendation after initially telling Americans that they didn’t need to wear masks and that anything other than a high-grade N95 medical mask would do little to prevent infection any way. 

FACE MASKS DO HELP PREVENT INFECTION – BUT THEY’RE NOT ALL CREATED EQUAL 

Research on how well various types of masks and face coverings varies but, recently, and in light of the pandemic of COVID-19, experts are increasingly leaning toward the notion that something is better than nothing. 

A University of Oxford study published on March 30 concluded that surgical masks are just as effective at preventing respiratory infections as N95 masks for doctors, nurses and other health care workers. 

It’s too early for their to be reliable data on how well they prevent infection with COVID-19, but the study found the thinner, cheaper masks do work in flu outbreaks. 

The difference between surgical or face masks and N95 masks lies in the size of particles that can – and more importantly, can’t – get though the materials. 

N95 respirators are made of thick, tightly woven and molded material that fits tightly over the face and can stop 95 percent of all airborne particles, while surgical masks are thinner, fit more loosely, and more porous. 

This makes surgical masks much more comfortable to breathe and work in, but less effective at stopping small particles from entering your mouth and nose. 

Droplets of saliva and mucous from coughs and sneezes are very small, and viral particles themselves are particularly tiny – in fact, they’re about 20-times smaller than bacteria. 

For this reason, a JAMA study published this month still contended that people without symptoms should not wear surgical masks, because there is not proof the gear will protect them from infection – although they may keep people who are coughing and sneezing from infecting others. 

But the Oxford analysis of past studies – which has not yet been peer reviewed – found that surgical masks were worth wearing and didn’t provide statistically less protection than N95 for health care workers around flu patients. 

However, any face mask is only as good as other health and hygiene practices. Experts universally agree that there’s simply no replacement for thorough, frequent hand-washing for preventing disease transmission. 

Some think the masks may also help to ‘train’ people not to touch their faces, while others argue that the unfamiliar garment will just make people do it more, actually raising infection risks.  

If the CDC does instruct Americans to wear masks, it could create a second issue: Hospitals already face shortages of masks and other PPE.

WHAT TO USE TO COVER YOUR FACE IF YOU DON’T HAVE A MASK 

So the agency may recommend regular citizens use alternatives like cloth masks or bandanas. 

‘Homemade masks theoretically could offer some protection if the materials and fit were optimized, but this is uncertain,’ Dr Jeffrey Duchin, a Seattle health official told the Washington Post. 

A 2013 study found that next to a surgical mask, a vacuum cleaner bag provided the best material for a homemade mask. 

After a vacuum bag, kitchen towels were fairly protective, but uncomfortable. Masks made of T-shirts were very tolerable, but only worked a third as well as surgical mask. The Cambridge University researchers concluded that homemade masks should only be used ‘as a last resort.’ 

But as the pandemic has spread to more than 164,000 people worldwide, it might be time to consider last resort options.  

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk