After four weeks of social isolation at home with his two siblings and parents, Jesse Weiner (21B) was disconcerted when he developed symptoms of congestion, a sore throat and a low-grade fever.
Weiner would go for occasional walks around his neighborhood alone, and rarely left his house. He picked up takeout from one or two restaurants, and he wasn’t in direct contact with anyone other than his family for the past month.
Weiner, who’s an associate editor of the Wheel, said COVID-19 was “the worst cold” he’s ever experienced. The symptoms didn’t come all at once, however, and they originally resembled a streptococcal infection. A few days of unidentified malaise later, Weiner’s health progressively worsened. Eating and drinking became an insurmountable burden.
His primary care physician told him that he likely did not have the virus, because his symptoms, such as congestion, were not characteristic of COVID-19. Weiner also did not experience the dry cough that typically accompanies the virus.
With little sign of improvement after five days of monitoring his symptoms, Weiner traveled to his local hospital on April 15. Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2018, Weiner’s underlying medical condition not only made him more susceptible to the coronavirus, but more likely to experience serious complications from it. At the hospital’s testing site, he drove up to one of the many testers in protective equipment, and received a throat swab.
Two days later, he learned he was positive for COVID-19.
While the test was quick and convenient, Weiner’s pain was far more difficult to handle.
“I was super congested and had a lot of difficulty sleeping,” Weiner said. “It was very difficult for me to swallow, and I didn’t have an appetite. So there was a point where I was not eating or drinking for two days.”
Weiner noted that his family has been caring and supportive throughout his recovery process, including his doctor, who has been readily available to answer phone calls.
“Being home with family has definitely made it easier than being at school or living by myself,” he said. “I’ve had a nice support system to help me get through it.”
His family’s support, however, has also come at an unknowing cost. While Weiner tried to limit direct interaction with family members, he did not completely isolate himself within his house.
His mother was tested on April 20 as the family was worried about her own possible underlying conditions, but the results came back negative. As of now, the rest of his family has not displayed any symptoms, though it is possible for carriers to be asymptomatic.
Soon after being tested, Weiner noted a marked improvement in his health.
“I feel almost entirely recovered,” Weiner said. “It was kind of quick. In a day, I sort of turned around and got better, which was surprising.”
Despite his progress, Weiner’s still in recovery. He stated that he is hopeful to be rid of coronavirus at least for the next few months.
After unexpectedly testing positive, Weiner advises anyone who has any cold-like symptoms to seek medical attention, get tested and ensure there’s people to help if or when the virus hits.
“If you’re feeling bad, surround yourself with people who could help you or who are willing to help you,” Weiner said.