Climate activist Greta Thunberg has claimed in a recent Instagram post that she may have contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus along with her father, actor Svante Thunberg. She said that they are both now in isolation after developing symptoms of the virus on a recent train tour of Europe, which the pair took before the lockdowns were imposed.
Thunberg said that she suffered from shivers, a sore throat, cough, and fatigue. In a video published by the New Scientist today, she said that her father had ‘more intense symptoms’ than she did, but said that he has now recovered.
In the video, Thunberg said, “For the last two weeks I have been isolated and then I got the virus. I came home from central Europe and then I isolated myself from the beginning, because I thought I might as well as I’ve been on trains…and so I don’t want to put anyone else at risk. But then I started feeling some symptoms after a few days. But the important thing is that I didn’t basically feel that ill. At the same time my father was feeling much more intense symptoms.”
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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
Thunberg went on to say that she was isolated in an apartment away from her sister and mother. Thunberg said that she began noticing the symptoms about 10 days ago, but is now feeling better. Thunberg admitted that she was not entirely sure if it was actually the coronavirus, because of the fact that Sweden requires patients to be hospitalized before they are tested for the virus, and neither she or her father have needed to go to the hospital. Thunberg said that she truly believes that her and her father were infected with the coronavirus because the symptoms matched up, but said that there is a chance that it could have been something else, since they were not formally tested.
If Thunberg was infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus, there is a very good chance that she experienced a more mild or asymptomatic version of the illness. Research has found that teens are not usually hospitalized from the illness, but this is not entirely good news. Since the younger population only experiences mild symptoms, they don’t actually realize that they have something very serious, and they go about their normal business, passing the illness along to whoever they come into contact with. Young people are also more likely to travel, go to large events, and get involved in social situations that would give the pathogen more chances to spread as well.
“I didn’t basically feel that I was ill. It could be that I was feeling unusually tired, I was coughing a bit. That is because I’m not in a risk group, I didn’t get it very seriously. That also is very dangerous because you don’t know you have it. If I wouldn’t have been for my father getting it at the same time and much more intense than me, I might not even have noticed it that I was sick. Many people don’t feel symptoms at all, or very mild symptoms, but it can be contagious,” Thunberg explained.
In the short year that Greta has been involved in her activism, she has quickly been thrust into the heights of fame. The teenager gave a speech at the United Nations, and was involved in an unprecedented climate lawsuit involving the UN. There is also some discussion of nominating the child for the Nobel Peace Prize for her activism. However, she is also extremely controversial, and has many critics who believe that she is being used as a pawn to promote a specific political agenda.