Elizabeth Schneider: Coronavirus Survivor Describes Early Symptoms

Elizabeth Schneider

Getty Elizabeth Schneider poses at her house in Seattle, Washington on March 11, 2020.

Elizabeth Schneider is an American woman from Seattle who had the COVID-19 coronavirus and has fully recovered from it. She was interviewed by Agence France-Press (AFP) and shared her story, the symptoms she had and her experience in general.

She is 37 years old and has her PhD in bioengineering. She told AFP that she wanted to share her experience with others “to give people a little bit of hope.” She said she had a pretty mild experience with the coronavirus and she says for those who are worried, it’s important not to panic. The CDC has also said that a large majority of cases are mild, and research states that only about 16% of cases lead to serious illness.

However, she also said “it’s not something to be completely nonchalant about, because there are a lot of people who are elderly or have underlying health conditions. That means that we need to be extra vigilant about staying home, isolating ourselves from others.”

She also posted her story on Facebook, available here.


Her First Symptoms Were Flu-Like, With a Headache & Feeling Tired at First

Elizabeth Schneider

Elizabeth Schneider in a Facebook photo.

She says the first time she felt symptoms was on February 25. Three days before, she had attended a party that ended up leading to at least five other cases of coronavirus. She told AFP “I woke up and I was feeling tired, but it was nothing more than what you normally feel when you have to get up and go to work, and I had been very busy the previous weekend.”

She said that by the middle of the day, she had developed a headache as well as a fever and was experiencing body aches. She left work and went home. She took her temperature a few times, and that night it reached 103 degrees Fahrenheit. She told AFP “at that point, I started to shiver uncontrollably, and I was getting the chills and getting tingling in my extremities, so that was a little concerning.”

She said she treated her symptoms with over-the-counter flu remedies, but her fever left after a few days. She didn’t go to the doctor at the time because she assumed she just had a strain of the flu. She didn’t have typical coronavirus symptoms of a cough or shortness of breath, so she thought “that’s definitely why I don’t have coronavirus.”


She Sent in a Test to a Research Center Instead of Taking the Regular Test & Received a Positive Result

Elizabeth Schneider

Elizabeth Schneider in a Facebook photo.

Schneider decided to get tested for coronavirus when she saw on Facebook that others who attended the same party were experiencing similar symptoms. She told AFP that many of those people had gone to the doctor to get tested. Although they all tested negative for the flu, they weren’t given the coronavirus test because they were also not coughing or experiencing shortness of breath.

Instead of going to the doctor herself, Schneider signed up for the Seattle Flu Study, a research program. They sent her a nasal swab kit, which she sent back. A few days later, on March 7, she told AFP “I finally got a phone call from one of the research coordinators telling me that ‘You have tested positive for COVID-19.'”

At that time, because her symptoms had already improved significantly, she was told by the local health authorities to stay home for a minimum of seven days after her symptoms started or 72 hours after they subsided. She told AFP she’s felt good for about a week now.

At the end of the interview, she said she was hoping that her situation, which is most likely similar to the majority of cases, would help to comfort people who are worried about coronavirus. “The message is don’t panic. If you think that you have it, you probably do; you should probably get tested.”

Schneider continued, “if your symptoms aren’t life-threatening, simply stay at home, medicate with over-the-counter medicines, drink lots of water, get a lot of rest and check out the shows you want to binge-watch.”

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