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'Like nothing I had ever experienced': Young South Florida couple describes getting coronavirus

Shaila and Sebastian Rivera
Posted at 10:40 AM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 18:06:57-04

MIAMI — As we all search for more answers and clarity about COVID-19, a South Florida nurse is giving some insight by sharing her personal experience. She wants you to remember that no one is immune to the potentially deadly virus.

“No one is invincible to this, anyone can get it,” said Shaila Rivera. “You never knew what the next day brought. And especially being health care providers, we all reach to evidence-based practice and case studies, and there are none because everyone’s trying to figure this out. So, you really have no guidance on how to create the best circumstance for yourself. You’re kind of at the will of this disease."

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Shaila and Sebastian Rivera, who are 30 and 31, are both health care professionals, a nurse practitioner and a physician, in South Florida who both tested positive for COVID-19. The couple says after dealing with it themselves, they can’t stress enough how serious it can be, even for the young and healthy.

“We had sustained high fevers. I could barely get out of bed. My muscle aches were like nothing I had ever experienced, and I have had the flu before. It is nothing like that,” said Shaila Rivera.

The Riveras returned home from an overseas trip and immediately quarantined themselves out of precaution. The following day, symptoms began.

Shaila Rivera said she is thankful they have been able to care for themselves at home. But even two weeks later, they are still learning and experiencing new things daily.

WEB EXTRA: Young South Florida couple describes getting coronavirus

She said her husband felt he had recovered, and then a second wave of coronavirus symptoms hit him.

“We both kind of got better by day seven. I continued to get better, and then after two days, Sebastian got more sick then he was initially. He had a sustained fever of 104 for two days straight. He couldn’t get out of bed. He slept all day. He has a really, really bad productive cough and sore throat, muscle aches. You have this constant headache. It just kind of takes over your whole body,” said Shaila Rivera.

Rivera can’t be where she really wishes she could be right now, on the front lines helping as a nurse practitioner. So, she is speaking out because she wants people to know more about the disease, it’s crippling side effects, and the importance if social distancing.

The Riveras said they will not return to work at the hospital until they have tested negative for COVID-19.