By Rainesford Stauffer
A few weeks ago, on a Thursday evening, Conor Dillon started noticing he felt a little off. A wave of lightheadedness swept over him, followed by a headache. He doesn’t own a thermometer, but by placing the back of his hand to his forehead, he realized he had a bit of a fever. The 32-year-old, who lives in Tullamore, Ireland, also noticed he’d been developing deep muscular pains in his back — not like the average stiffness or wear-and-tear that pop up from sitting at a desk too long, but brutal aches. He’d felt fine that morning.
By Friday, “I woke up and my head was exploding,” he tells MTV News. “It was as if someone was standing on my head. It was that painful.”
Dillon was diagnosed with COVID-19, the illness that is caused by the novel coronavirus, which doesn’t discriminate, despite the ongoing myth that young people can’t contract the virus, or won’t experience grueling symptoms if they do. According to reporting by BuzzFeed, as of March 20th, New York City health officials said that one in four people hospitalized for COVID-19 were between the ages of 19 and 49. That echoed a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that stated 38 percent of patients hospitalized with coronavirus were between the ages of 20 and 54.
But that hasn’t stopped people who falsely think the disease is something only older people or those with compromised immune systems need to worry about. In Kentucky, a group of young adults held what they called a “coronavirus party” to purposefully defy social distancing; one of them was later diagnosed with the virus. And the Miami spring breaker who went viral for announcing, “If I get corona, I get corona,” has changed his tune, telling social media “don’t be arrogant and think you’re invincible like myself.” More and more young people are also being hospitalized for the disease: A 36-year-old school principal from Brooklyn, New York, died from coronavirus complications, and a 26-year-old wrote about their hospitalization experience for The New York Times.
Everyone feels invincible until they aren’t.
While he explains he’s not one to google symptoms as soon as he feels poorly, Dillon knew he felt off, and the headaches, body aches, and fever were enough to make him reach out to a doctor. Currently, the United States lacks a sufficient number of coronavirus tests, but because he lives in Ireland, Dillon didn’t have a problem getting tested. A sound engineer, he had been in France, London, and New York in the space of two and a half weeks, which made him a perfect candidate.
“On Friday afternoon, they said, look, we’re going to get someone sent to your house,” Dillon tells MTV, explaining that a health official was supposed to show up in a protective suit, ask som