There’s a lot of information about the novel coronavirus coming at us in every possible direction. Sometimes, it’s good to hear from people who have seen it and experienced it up close.
Currently, there are just over 1,600 confirmed cases in the U.S. Here are the stories of a few people who have been infected with the virus, COVID-19.
Clay Bentley of Rome, Georgia
Bentley recently appeared on CNN alongside his wife, Suzy. Speaking with network anchor Poppy Harlow, the couple said it is their faith in Jesus that has carried them through the uncertainties of COVID-19.
In fact, earlier this week, Bentley said his doctors came into his isolation room to tell him the condition of his lungs was worsening. Bentley, though, said, “I heard the voice of God inside of me telling me, ‘You’re getting better.’” The medical staff also reassured Bentley that cases often get worse before they get better.
The road wasn’t immediately so hopeful for Bentley, though. When he first began experiencing flu-like symptoms, he went to the hospital. He was tested for seasonal flu and the results came back negative, so they sent him home. Over the next three to four days, the Georgia native’s symptoms only worsened.
He then returned to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with COVID-19.
Even in the midst of so many unknowns, the Bentleys have continued to trust in God’s sovereignty. Bentley also had the opportunity to speak with Vice President Mike Pence, who vowed to pray for him.
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Bentley encouraged Americans concerned about the virus not to panic.
“It’s what we begin to hear — I think that’s why this country, you know, we walk in fear because we hear these fear stories and it causes pandemonium,” he said. “But, you know, if you’re hearing the right voices and you follow those voices, because God began to tell me I was getting better, and look at me today: I feel better.”
Bentley’s wife, who is quarantined in their home and has not exhibited any symptoms of the novel coronavirus, reminded Harlow and CNN viewers that dwelling on worry and fear “doesn’t do any good,” adding, “You’ve gotta find something to put your hope in.”
“Any time any fear comes or loneliness or anything that is negative with all that’s going on, the changes that are going on, I stand on His Word,” she explained. “I stand on His promises that no weapons formed against us can prosper. I give Him praise in the meantime. I know that He’s got my husband and he will come through this. Don’t rely on what everyone else is saying; find out what God is saying and stand on His Word.”
Elizabeth Schneider of Seattle
The 37-year-old Seattle native first contracted COVID-19 a few days after attending a house party, where she was exposed to other people who had the virus.
Initially, she was feeling tired, her body was aching, and she had a fever. Schneider didn’t think she had the novel coronavirus because her symptoms didn’t match the most common indicators — shortness of breath, respiratory distress, or a cough.
A test, though, did eventually indicate she was positive for COVID-19.
Schneider said her mother cried when she first learned of her daughter’s diagnosis. As for Schneider, however, with a doctorate in bioengineering, she was fascinated. She has nearly completely recovered after experiencing mild symptoms, which is the likelihood for about 80% of cases.
Her primary message during a recent interview on CNN was encouraging Americans not to panic about COVID-19, particularly those who are, like her, otherwise healthy individuals.
“The big takeaway I want to tell everyone is: please don’t panic,” Schneider said. “This is an unknown infectious agent that is relatively new to have infected humans. However, if you are healthy, if you are younger, if you take good care of yourself when you’re sick, you will recover, I believe. I’m living proof of that.”
Unnamed Seattle Woman
Though she hasn’t disclosed her name, one woman from Seattle shared details of her encounter with COVID-19 in a column for Marie Claire magazine.
She found out she had been diagnosed with he novel virus after a Feb. 25 luncheon with seven people at a local restaurant, where she believes she picked up the infection. Just a couple days later, she woke up with a sore throat and a headache.
“I work from home, and by noon I felt so under the weather that I had to stop working,” she wrote. “By 2 p.m., I had chills and body aches and a mild fever of 100.2° F that was gone within a half hour after I took Advil. By 3 p.m., I was in bed and stayed there well into the next day. Initially, I thought it was the flu.”
Her symptoms persisted, so the woman went to a nearby clinic, where a nurse prescribed Tamiflu, an antiviral for those diagnosed with the seasonal flu.
Due to restrictions at the time, she couldn’t get tested for COVID-19. So the nurse encouraged her to enroll online in the Seattle Flu Study, which she did. Those who qualify for the research study receive a swab kit in the mail, which they then return after using.
On March 6, she received a phone call from a public health department official urging her to call back. She had tested positive for COVID-19.
“Truthfully, for me, the illness hasn’t been that bad,” she recounted. “A couple of years ago, I got the flu and found that to be worse. Being sick with COVID-19 felt different because I experienced shortness of breath, which is what tipped me off to the fact that I might have it. It was like I could still breathe but I couldn’t get a full breath, which felt a little scary. I’m typically a healthy person who always recovers easily from illness. It’s been almost two weeks now, and I’m just getting over it, which is similar to the experience I’ve had with any cold or flu.”
She lives with her husband and two children, ages 7 and 10. None of them have tested positive for the virus.
The Seattle woman is now feeling much better and encouraging people to take the advice of medical experts: wash your hands, avoid close contact with other people, self-quarantine if you are feeling sick, and avoid any unnecessary travel.
Earlier this week, I wrote a column encouraging Christians concerned about the novel coronavirus not to panic, because we know God is not shaken by this infection.
Scripture tells us that, as believers, we have been given a spirit of “power, love, and self-discipline” and we are encouraged to “pray about everything,” telling God what we need, what we’re scared of, and why we’re worried (2 Timothy 1:7, Philippians 4:6).
Please continue to be in prayer for our nation, our medical experts, our politicians, and for those who are part of at-risk communities, such as the elderly and those who are immunocompromised.