'It can affect any age, I was afraid I was going to die' - survivor (17)

Sinead Kearns had trouble breathing with the virus while Brandon Fay ended up in isolation alone in hospital

Fiona Dillon

Younger people need to be aware that coronavirus can impact on any age group, according to two young Dubliners who have now recovered from it.

Swords native Sinead Kearns (23) has been spending the last two weeks in isolation at home.

She says her symptoms started off with a just blocked nose.

"I thought it was tiredness. But I woke up the next day and I did not feel right at all. Then I started to cough, but that only lasted for a full day," she said.

Subsequently, a drive-through test confirmed the Covid-19 diagnosis, and she immediately self-isolated at home.

"I never had a fever, but I had insane tiredness," said Sinead.

Brandon Fay


She said like many others she felt worse a few days into the diagnosis. "I really just felt completely worn out.

"My concentration was just gone. I tried to do a jigsaw in the first few days, but I just had to lie down."

She said that another symptom was a burning sensation in her nasal pharynx and nausea and breathlessness which started on day four and lasted a few days.

"One night when I was returning from the bathroom, I was so out of breath, having just walked down the stairs, and back up, I felt like I had done an hour and a half of exercise. My heart rate was racing, and I was so out of breath. It is very uncomfortable."

"I had done a quiz with my friends, and I had to tell them, 'lads, I'm going to be breathless, I'm sorry, just be patient with me.'"

She said that her family were a great support, bringing food to outside the bedroom door.

Despite everything, Sinead - who works in the healthcare field - said she considers herself lucky to have experienced a relatively 'mild' dose.

Meanwhile, also affected by Covid-19 was Brandon Fay (17) from the North Strand in Dublin, who ended up in the Mater Hospital for six days.

Brandon, who suffers from mild asthma, said he was extremely scared during his health ordeal.

Due to visitor restrictions, he had to be in isolation in a room on his own for three days, apart from visits from the medical and nursing team. But his worried mum Sarah kept in regular touch with the Leaving Cert student by phone.

It was a cough and shortness of breath that led to his diagnosis and hospital treatment.

"The isolation was the scariest part, not being able to see my mother, or anybody," he said.

"I was very scared. I thought I was going to die. I was in a bubble. I didn't know what was going to happen."

He said he was looking at the cases online of people dying.

"I was afraid I was going to die alone," he said.


After three days, he was moved to a Covid-19 ward with older men.

He experienced nausea, a cough and shortness of breath.

"It gets worse before it gets better," he said.

Prior to the diagnosis, Brandon pointed out he was "abiding by all the rules that you could do. I am telling everyone it can affect any age."

"The staff were phenomenal, the work that they do," said Brandon, who plans to train as a nurse himself.

Thankfully, Brandon who has four brothers, is now doing well at home.

He is urging people to donate to the Our Hospital Heroes appeal set up by Robbie and Claudine Keane which is being co-ordinated by the Mater Foundation. Visit: ourhospital heroes at GoFundMe.com.