While many have quickly adopted health officials social distancing recommendations and government requests to stay home amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, others have continued to crowd parks, beaches, and stores. But after seeing people acting as if they weren't taking recommendations to isolate at home seriously, one mom of a baby hospitalized with coronavirus has begged people to "please stay home" in an impassioned and viral Facebook post.
"I wasn't going to post this because I didn't want certain family members to get upset as some don't [know] that Arthur has been poorly," Courtney Barker, a mom from Plympton, England, wrote in a recent Facebook post. "However I'm getting fed up of people not taking isolation seriously and thinking it's just one big holiday!"
Alongside photographs of her 7-month-old son, Arthur, in the hospital, Barker stressed that "Covid-19 sucks." According to Barker, Arthur was taken by an ambulance to the hospital late last week where his temperature spiked to 102.74 degrees Fahrenheit after being given the fever-reducer Calpol.
"His heart rate was 206 [beats per minute]," Barker wrote. "He was unconscious and floppy! It was petrifying." According to Children's Health, a normal heart rate for infants aged 1 to 11 months falls between 80 to 160 beats per minute.
On April 5, Barker reported that the family was on day three of fighting Arthur's COVID-19 fever as well as a cough, diarrhea, fatigue, sore throat, red and itchy ears, runny nose, watery eyes, and a decrease in appetite. "And this is classed as mild symptoms ￼from the hospital," she wrote.
Barker said the entire family had been self isolating for four weeks as three of them are considered to be high risk for experiencing severe illness as a result of the novel coronavirus. In that time, Barker's husband had left their house only twice to shop for food essentials. "We followed every guild line set," she wrote. "Yet it has still managed to make its way into our house."
She urged people to rethink their need to go out into public spaces and take government guidance to stay at home more seriously. "Please stay home," she pleaded. "If you do have to leave wear gloves and a medical mask. When you get home strip off and wash everything! ... Is it really worth your life or anyone else’s life for the sake of a walk or a run?"
As her post went viral and Arthur's story got picked up by British newspapers, Barker edited her original Facebook post to say she hadn't expected to draw such a huge response. "I simply wanted to raise awareness," she wrote. "If I can stop just one person going out then I’m happy!"
After three days in the hospital, Barker said Arthur was finally home and confirmed to have COVID-19. "We are doing everything we have been told to for him," she wrote on Facebook. "He's a little fighter! It's awful to see my child so so poorly." Barker later updated her post to report that Arthur's fever was dropping and the baby was "getting through it best he can."
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here, and Bustle’s constantly updated, general “what to know about coronavirus” here.