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Indianapolis woman hopes her COVID-19 experience compels others to take precautions

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The coronavirus has shown many people they are not invincible, including an Indianapolis woman who said she had to learn that lesson the hard way.

The woman is recovering from the virus now but says she found out having youth on her side didn’t keep her safe.

COVID-19 hit Autumn Ricketts hard.

“I just felt horrible those first few days,” she said.

For the most part, outside of a few trips to the grocery store, she said she’s been following the “stay at home” orders but admitted that as a young person who has asthma, on those rare trips to the grocery story, she didn’t wear a mask or gloves and didn’t sanitize her car.

“I didn’t think that taking those precautions was really going to make much of a difference,” she said.

She was wrong. And on April 9, she started to feel just how much.

“In the next week, I started wheezing, I couldn’t inhale like all the way. I couldn’t take a deep breath without choking or without having chest pains,” Ricketts said.

A week later, she finally went to the emergency room. Two days later, she got back positive COVID-19 results.

She started looking up symptoms online and even started messaging other people who had tested positive, hoping to get some reassurance.

“They either posted a story about being asymptomatic or they posted a story about nearly dying, so there was really no in between,” she said.

The Indiana State Department of Health shows that people Ricketts’ age account for a small percentage of COVID-19 cases.

However, that same data shows black people tend to be disproportionately impacted by the virus. But that’s not the only reason she’s sharing her story.

“I mainly posted it because I was so terrified,” said Ricketts. “I’m just trying to help somebody else if you’re going through it and you need some peace of mind.”

She said she is now out of quarantine but still practicing social distancing.