20-year-old Kansas woman warns others to take virus seriously

Updated: July 30, 2020 03:11 PM
Created: July 30, 2020 02:54 PM

(KSHB / NBC News)  A 20-year-old Manhattan, Kansas woman hospitalized with COVID-19 hopes her story will hit home with young people who don't take the virus seriously.

Cecilia Erker first noticed a loss of taste in early July and didn't think too much of it. However, when she woke up the next day, she had all of the classic symptoms.


"I've never been more sick in my life," Erker said. "I felt like I got hit by a bus, I was running a 102 degree fever, I had a cough, I was vomiting."

Erker isolated at home but failed to get better. She took several trips to the ER in Manhattan and had CT scans and chest X-rays. She learned she had developed a secondary infection in her lung. 

Doctors told her she needed more intensive care, and she was sent to the University of Kansas Medical Center, where she spent three days in the ICU and five days in isolation in a COVID wing.

She developed a secondary infection and will undergo surgery to have most of her lung removed next week.

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