Story contributed by DeAndria Turner
Broadcast journalism student
You may have heard that most people who get COVID-19 will experience mild symptoms and recover. But for people in high-risk groups like those with compromised immune systems, the illness could be a death sentence.
Rachel Harbour was enjoying her freshman year of college at the University of Mississippi. She felt like it was a new start with new experiences like those she found in Air Force ROTC and with meeting new people. That all changed on Sept. 22, 2017, when she was diagnosed with lupus.
This was the day she knew her life would never be the same.
“It actually changed months prior to it. It started in April I want to say, and it affected my school life, work-life,” Habour said.
Harbour’s immune system is always compromised, that’s why she is taking extra precautions during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“When it first came around, I was thinking this is one more thing that I have to worry about because I take so much medicine that it kind of suppresses my immune system. So, my immune system doesn’t work as well as everyone else, and when it does it’s hell,” Harbour said.
Right now, she wants everyone, including her fellow UM students, to take this seriously.
“I feel like it’s selfish if you don’t social distance because you are only thinking of yourself and you aren’t thinking of anyone around you, and honestly, I feel like if everyone social distanced themselves it’ll make it go by quicker,” Harbour said.
Social distancing means staying at home for all but essential trips, and it especially means avoiding large crowds. You should also refrain from touching anyone else as much as possible, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Harbour has one last message she’d like people to hear: “Don’t think just because someone is in their mid-teens and young adults that their body is good and in good health because it’s not true. Like looking at me you wouldn’t expect all the things that I am diagnosed with, but it’s very true out there,” she said.
Rachel’s story is similar to thousands that you will find on social media — #High-RiskCOVID-19 has plenty of evidence for why social distancing is so important.