A young woman has issued a warning after testing positive for coronavirus despite not having the usual symptoms.
COVID-19 typically presents as a dry cough, shortness of breath and a fever, which differentiates it from a cold and the regular seasonal flu.
But Julia Buscaglia, 20, says her experience was very different.
"I was not going to share my story, but now that I see others are reporting very different symptoms than mine I feel it's important to tell everyone my experience," she wrote in a now-viral Twitter thread.
The American tells the timeline of her illness, beginning on February 29 when she was on holiday in Italy – now the worst-hit country on Earth with a staggering number of coronavirus deaths.
"February 29th: I woke up this day in agony," she said.
"My head was pounding, my ears throbbing, and it felt as if my throat was on fire. My body aches, I had chills, and I had a fever of 100.2F. I took over the counter anti-inflammatories and stayed in bed the entire day."
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The next tweet jumped to March 3, her last day in Italy.
"I still couldn't hear, and at this point I lost all ability to taste and smell, yet I did not have a runny nose or cough," she said.
"I had a headache constantly during the day which I just treated with Tylenol. I left the next morning to return to America."
The next tweet describes March 4, "the day I look back on and get scared".
"I flew home, and not a single person asked where I had been. Not even at Customs. They didn't blink an eye at me. I had layovers in large cities. Again, there was no doubt in my mind that I didn't have the virus."
"March 5th-13th: As we were told, I stayed in self quarantine during these days," she continued.
"I had contact with only two people. No symptoms were present that the CDC warned us about. I had a wet cough. And my hearing, taste, and smell finally returned."
On March 13 (coincidentally, Friday the 13th), Julia was finally tested for COVID-19.
"I was not planning on being tested. However, members of my family work in health care and wanted to be sure before returning to work. We had to ask to be tested, they refused until we asked repeatedly."
The next day she got a call telling her she had tested positive for coronavirus.
"My jaw dropped," she wrote.
"How was I positive? I didn't have the symptoms on the news, I got cleared by a doctor, and no one cared."
"At customs I had come from a high risk country. I guess why I'm telling you all of this is because what they are telling you are symptoms are not all symptoms. And you do not have to have the symptoms to be positive. The only symptom I had that was similar was a fever."
She has no idea how she was infected, and says the healthcare worker she has to report her temperature to every day has no idea how the virus is spread.
She's urging other young people to stay indoors, saying she's been quarantined in her home since March 5 and won't come out until she's tested negative twice.
"I know many of you have spring breaks, trips, work, and activities planned.
"But I want you to understand many individuals my age are not showing symptoms. I know we joke and laugh about not having this virus. But this is not a joke anymore.
"Please cancel your trips."
While Julia says she feels healthy now, it doesn't mean she's out of the woods.
"To those of you in the same situation as me, I wish you all a speedy recovery and to stay healthy," she wrote.
"Drink fluids and wash your hands. Please remember, just because you are not showing symptoms does NOT mean you do not have it."
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