Lena Dunham self-isolated for a month before she was diagnosed with COVID-19 in mid-March. The Girls alum revealed that she contracted the virus in a lengthy message on Friday, July 31.
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“I’ve been reluctant to share this, having written and rewritten it anxiously. I don’t want to unnecessarily add my voice to a noisy landscape on such a challenging topic,” Dunham, 34, wrote via Instagram. “But seeing the carelessness with which so many in the United States are treating social distancing, people jogging without masks and parties on Instagram, I feel compelled to be honest about the impact this illness has had on me, in the hopes that personal stories allow us to see the humanity in what can feel like abstract situations. The fact is, the Coronavirus kills people.”
Dunham said that she “started with achy joints” but didn’t “freak out” at first because she’s used to dealing with chronic pain. However, she soon dealt with “crushing fatigue” and “a fever of 102.”
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“Suddenly my body simply … revolted,” she explained. “The nerves in my feet burned and muscles wouldn’t seem to do their job. My hands were numb. I couldn’t tolerate loud noises. I couldn’t sleep but I couldn’t wake up. I lost my sense of taste and smell. A hacking cough, like a metronome keeping time. Inability to breathe after simple tasks like getting a glass of water. Random red rashes. A pounding headache right between my eyes. It felt like I was a complex machine that had been unplugged and then had my wires rerouted into the wrong inputs.”
The writer went on to note that the symptoms went on for 21 days and she was “lucky enough to have a doctor who could offer” her regular guidance on how to take care of herself. She also was never hospitalized, but the symptoms continued.
“My arthritis flared and required an immune-modulator drug that is hard on my body,” she continued. “And there are weirder symptoms that I’ll keep to myself. To be clear, I did NOT have these particular issues before I got sick with this virus and doctors don’t yet know enough about COVID-19 to be able to tell me why exactly my body responded this way or what my recovery will look like. … The serious long-term health consequences of a COVID-19 infection are something doctors are learning more about every hour. We have never moved this fast in medicine — we’ve never had to — and experts are doing some incredible work with containment and prevention. But we don’t yet understand the long-term impact of this illness on people’s bodies and minds.”
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Dunham received an outpouring of support following her post. “Thank you for sharing Lena,” Demi Moore wrote in the comments alongside heart emojis.
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Diane Kruger added: “Thank you for sharing Lena, I’m just so glad you recovered.’ Please people, the VERY LEAST we can do is #wearadamnmask to help protect each other!”
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