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What It’s Like to Have Coronavirus When You’re a Health Care Worker

She thinks she got it from community spread—but her medical knowledge helped her recognize when her symptoms were getting bad.

In our new series What It’s Like, we speak with people from a wide range of backgrounds about how their lives have changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this installment, we hear from a nurse, E.W., who is currently recovering from COVID-19. She doesn’t know for sure how she contracted it, although she believes it was from community spread—to her knowledge, she never treated any COVID-19 patients before she became sick. She traveled domestically for pleasure a week before her symptoms appeared, which could certainly be the culprit—although, given that the disease can spread from people who show no symptoms, it can be impossible to know for sure. She has requested anonymity, so we changed her initials and aren’t naming her employer.

E.W., who has underlying conditions that make her more susceptible to COVID-19 complications, came down with symptoms of the new coronavirus disease in the week after her vacation. Soon after, she received a positive test result. After a hospital stay, she’s now recovering at home. Here she explains her experience with COVID-19, how her medical knowledge impacted her decisions and perspective throughout the process, and why it’s so important that we all take this pandemic seriously and do our part to flatten the curve. Her responses have been edited and condensed for clarity.

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