'The guilt was overwhelming': Dublin footballer describes having Covid-19

'The guilt was overwhelming': Dublin footballer describes having Covid-19
Siobhán Killeen speaking at the press conference. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

A Dublin footballer has warned young people that coronavirus can affect anyone, regardless of age.

Siobhán Killeen, a Dublin forward and a Republic of Ireland international has spoken of the guilt she felt when she was diagnosed with Covid-19.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has recently warned of a rise in cases in those under the age of 35.

Killeen, who is 27, has warned that she did not think the disease would have such an effect on her.

She said she was “naive” thinking her age and health would keep her safe, while also saying she felt guilty in case she had put her family or friends at risk.

Speaking a tonight’s Covid-19 press briefing, Killeen said she experienced symptoms which included fever, body ache and headaches.

She said she self-isolated immediately and got tested, which returned a positive result.

“While I was fortunate not to need hospitalisation, the unknown of the disease was frightening,” she said.

“I didn’t know how my symptoms would escalate. I was isolated from my friends and my family.

“The guilt was overwhelming. You ask that question of yourself: Have I put my family at risk? Have I put others at risk?

“Three months after my diagnosis, I am still on the long road to full recovery.” 

She said she thought it would take two weeks to feel the worst of the virus but she stated that “the weeks and months following my isolation were the toughest”.

“I was fatigued, my fitness levels have deteriorated, I had shortness of breath when exercising and I had feelings of worry.

Killeen said that as an inter-county player, she did not think the recovery would be “so tough and take so long”.

She said: “I, probably like many was others, was naive in thinking that my age and my health would protect me from a very infectious disease.

“Covid-19 is a new disease, only months old.

“We know that the older and vulnerable people are at a greater risk statistically, however we cannot know how it will affect any individual of any age.

'The guilt was overwhelming': Dublin footballer describes having Covid-19
Siobhán Killeen during a Clontarf GAA Club training session last week. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

“In recent days, the National Public Health Emergency Team have noted concerns that a growing number of people under the age of 35 are contracting the disease.

“I urge everyone, of all ages, to follow public health advice to protect themselves and others.

“You do not want to experience the guilt of wondering who you may have infected. And you do not want to risk your own health.

She said was proud of what the country has achieved so far but warned that the pandemic is not over and that “our efforts cannot stop” as the pandemic was not over.  

Meanwhile, there were no new deaths reported today, but 24 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed.

Dr Holohan warned: “We are starting to see a worrying trend, with the number of reported cases increasing, and some new clusters.

“As restrictions are lifted and people move about more, it’s important that we use the tools that have helped us suppress the virus to date.

“Hand washing, physical distancing, cough/sneeze hygiene and wearing face coverings are important personal behaviours that mean, as we go about our daily lives, that we are doing everything we can to avoid contracting the virus and spreading it to those we love.” 

Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, added: “Today we are reporting at least six cases associated with international travel. Many countries around the world are still experiencing high and increasing levels of this disease.

"Last week, there were over 1.1 million cases reported and there have now been over 10 million cases reported globally to date.

“The risk of imported cases remains high. It’s important that continue to avoid all unnecessary travel at this time.”

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