DETROIT – Kim DeGiulio caught the coronavirus after inviting a friend over for dinner.
They ate outside to be safe, but it wasn’t safe enough. They sat closer than the recommended 6 feet.
“It just took one person. I invited the virus over to my house. I drank wine with the virus,” said DeGiulio.
Her friend tested positive for COVID-19 the next day.
“I got the phone call from her, and it was like really scary actually learning I had been exposed to somebody who had it. Then I just kind of knew I’m about to get it because we were together way too long. We weren’t social distancing, we weren’t wearing masks,” said DeGiulio.
She acted fast and immediately self-quarantined at home and monitored herself for symptoms. She tested positive for COVID-19 a few days later.
“You don’t know how your body is going to react. Is it going to be a severe case, mild, am I going to be asymptomatic?” she said.
She experienced mild symptoms. Her husband Kevin also got sick. They quarantined together at home.
Their cases are part of a growing trend recently: The virus has been spreading more in younger people. A CDC report finds the number of new cases was highest in those ages 20 to 29 between June and August.
Like the majority of people in their 20s with the coronavirus, Kim and Kevin did not require hospitalization.
Local 4′s Dr. Frank McGeorge cautions that while their experience is typical, age is no guarantee.
“Most younger people do experience milder illness. Older people -- people over 50 or 65, for example -- they tend to have more severe consequences,” said Dr. McGeorge. “But even among young people, we can’t predict who is going to go basically less scathed, or unscathed, or who is going to have a more severe illness.”
DeGiulio is grateful she didn’t see her parents, grandparents or anyone else at higher risk while she was sick.
“I’m just so grateful that I got through it and it was fairly easy for me,” she said.
The biggest lesson: It only takes a moment of relaxed precautions to put yourself at risk.
“I think the moral of the story here, at least from my experience, is you can think you’re doing the right thing -- I’m outside, I am socially distant -- but the truth is it only takes one person,” she said.
Dr. McGeorge agrees.
“To make sure that you reduce your risk as much as possible you need to reduce contact as much as possible. Even when you’re in the proximity of someone else that might be infected -- at this point we should assume that anyone could be infected -- if you’re just in their proximity, you could become infected,” said McGeorge.
- View more: Michigan COVID-19 data