Nashville woman describes what it's like to have COVID-19

Posted at 4:56 PM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 21:34:19-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Despite never having the symptom of a cough and being on medication, a Nashville woman who is quarantined in Alabama after testing positive for COVID-19 now has pneumonia.

Cavanagh Baker, a local fashion designer, is urging people to watch out for their symptoms since they can all vary depending on the patient. On Monday, she drove to a makeshift hospital to take an x-ray of her chest which showed she has pneumonia.

Baker was visiting her boyfriend in Birmingham nearly two weeks ago when she developed a fever and a “burning throat” as if she had strep.

“My skin would also hurt to the touch like my t-shirt was hurting my skin,” Baker told NewsChannel 5. “And then the exhaustion of not being able to catch my breath from getting up from the bed to the bathroom.”

Baker has been in quarantine for 10 days with her boyfriend who also has the virus, potentially from a trip. She also had the strange symptom of losing her sense of smell and taste.

After some of her symptoms refused to subside, including her shortness of breath, doctors prescribed Baker with a mixture of drugs including azithromycin and hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug that may help treat the virus.

President Donald Trump touted hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine as a “game changer” in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 even though there’s been few tests on the effects and limited evidence. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given emergency approval to send 30 million doses of the drug to hospitals across the country

Baker was prescribed the drug before the weekend and while she feels better days later, she still feels exhausted and has difficulty breathing.

“Me sitting here having a conversation, I’m really out of breath and I feel like I’ve been doing cardio,” she said. “I just feel kind of blurry and I don’t feel like myself.”

To be considered recovered, Baker’s test results for another swab test must come back negative. She urges people to keep their distance and think smart.

Baker also said her clothing line is also being affected by the outbreak. Deliveries of her clothes to stores across the country have been postponed.


See all our coronavirus coverage here


What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV)and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.


The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.