My name is Natalia M. When I first heard of the COVID-19, I felt the world was overreacting. I thought it was flu, maximum influenza, nothing to worry about. It was very far from the truth. A few weeks later, I was sitting in an emergency room of a New York Hospital, and I found the dark reality of the coronavirus.

Almost two years ago, I decided to move to the United States. My desire was to learn English so that I could study at a good university and develop as a professional.

In the early 2020s, I started hearing on the news that in Europe and China an illness was killing many people. I saw that every day the numbers of deceased and infected people increased uncontrollably. However, I felt it was nothing to be alarmed about. I thought that would never happen to me, so I continued with my normal life, without taking precautions.

At the end of February, I got sick, but not from COVID-19, I got Influenza. Everything is normal. After a few days of recovery, the illness disappeared and I was able to return to my daily tasks. However, a few days later I felt unwell again. Burning in the throat, fever, and a lot of pain in the rest of the body. I thought it was a relapse. So I didn’t pay much attention to it.

As the days went by, the situation worsened. I couldn’t take it anymore, that’s why I went to the doctor to see what was happening. After initial diagnoses, I was told that the tests had turned out negative for COVID-19. That calmed me down a bit.

However, every day I felt worse. I couldn’t breathe anymore. I woke up with a pain in my left rib as if it had hit me. A friendly doctor suggested that I take an x-ray. That day I was diagnosed with pneumonia, the moment the doctor said it was, a part of me knew that it was not going to end there, that something else was happening. That night the pain in my ribs was something I had not felt before and at some point, I thought something bad was going to happen. I had two other tests of COVID-19 and both were negative.

I live alone in New York, so it wasn’t easy. The pain was so bad, I couldn’t breathe. I had a fever and my whole body ached. Still, I had to get up and prepare food. Some friends brought me food and helped me, but being isolated is very hard.

One day I already felt so drowned that I decided to go to the ER once again. Due to the seriousness of my condition and my insistence, I was referred to a more complex hospital in New York. There, as soon as I got there, they sent me to the exclusive area for patients with COVID-19. The room was at maximum capacity, I felt my world collapse, I suffered an anxiety attack. I didn’t know what was going to happen, it was a very hard moment, I felt so vulnerable and alone.

Several days after living the most terrifying experience of my life, the doctor told me that I could continue the treatment at home, that I could leave, and that it was better to do it so as not to be so exposed to the virus. I should only return if the fever increased again. The pain in the lungs continued for about 4 days. But my temperature remained stable. After several days at home, the disease disappeared. I had recovered successfully.

However, before I had completely passed the infection, I had an antibody test against COVID-19 again. It came back positive. So I consulted an expert who told me that maybe the tests they did were badly taken or mismanaged.

I told my story on this platform so please be aware. This is not the flu, this is something that until we have a close case, we do not realize the severity and the consequences that it can bring. Please stay home. Do not expose your loved ones or contribute to the spread. This can kill you. You can die.

Now I feel that life gave me a new opportunity and I do not plan to miss it. I will fight to fulfill my dreams, while I hope that more people become aware of COVID-19’s severity and consequences.