Greta Thunberg revealed on Tuesday that it’s “extremely likely” she had COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Thunberg broke the news on Instagram to her 10 million followers, saying she and her father began to feel ill around March 14 after returning from a trip to Brussels.
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The last two weeks I’ve stayed inside. When I returned from my trip around Central Europe I isolated myself (in a borrowed apartment away from my mother and sister) since the number of cases of COVID-19 (in Germany for instance) were similar to Italy in the beginning. Around ten days ago I started feeling some symptoms, exactly the same time as my father – who traveled with me from Brussels. I was feeling tired, had shivers, a sore throat and coughed. My dad experienced the same symptoms, but much more intense and with a fever. In Sweden you can not test yourself for COVID-19 unless you’re in need of emergent medical treatment. Everyone feeling ill are told to stay at home and isolate themselves. I have therefore not been tested for COVID-19, but it’s extremely likely that I’ve had it, given the combined symptoms and circumstances. Now I’ve basically recovered, but – AND THIS IS THE BOTTOM LINE: I almost didn’t feel ill. My last cold was much worse than this! Had it not been for someone else having the virus simultainously I might not even have suspected anything. Then I would just have thought I was feeling unusually tired with a bit of a cough. And this it what makes it so much more dangerous. Many (especially young people) might not notice any symptoms at all, or very mild symptoms. Then they don’t know they have the virus and can pass it on to people in risk groups. We who don’t belong to a risk group have an enormous responsibility, our actions can be the difference between life and death for many others. Please keep that in mind, follow the advice from experts and your local authorities and #StayAtHome to slow the spread of the virus. And remember to always take care of each other and help those in need. #COVID #flattenthecurve
The symptoms the teenage climate change activist experienced included a sore throat, fatigue, shivers and a cough.
“In Sweden you can not test yourself for COVID-19 unless you’re in need of emergent medical treatment. Everyone feeling ill are told to stay at home and isolate themselves” Thunberg said in an Instagram post. “I have therefore not been tested for COVID-19, but it’s extremely likely that I’ve had it, given the combined symptoms and circumstances.”
According to Thunberg, she’s since “recovered” but has urged others to remain cautious and follow the advice of health professionals.
“I almost didn’t feel ill. My last cold was much worse than this! Had it not been for someone else having the virus (simultaneously) I might not even have suspected anything,” she said.
“We who don’t belong to a risk group have an enormous responsibility, our actions can be the difference between life and death for many others.Please keep that in mind, follow the advice from experts and your local authorities and #StayAtHome to slow the spread of the virus.”
Thunberg said on Tuesday the swift and far-ranging economic and social shifts being brought in to stem the coronavirus pandemic showed that the rapid action needed to curb climate change was also possible.
“The coronavirus is a terrible event … there is no positive to come out of it,” the Swedish teenager told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an online interview.
“But it also shows one thing: That once we are in a crisis, we can act to do something quickly, act fast,” said Thunberg, 17, whose solo school strikes for climate action helped spark a global youth climate strike movement.
“Though it must be in a different way to how we have acted in this case, we can act fast and change our habits and treat a crisis like a crisis.”
COVID-19 has so far infected nearly 400,000 people globally with more than 17,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus resource center.
The virus crisis “doesn’t mean we need to let go completely of activism,” according to Thunberg.
“We can do it online and at home. We just need to be creative and find new ways,” she said.
(Reuters contributed to this report.)