Recovering from COVID-19, Kalie Shorr Defends Her Health Habits: 'I Was Being Really Diligent About It'

When Kalie Shorr tweeted on Monday that she’d tested positive for COVID-19, she says she was simply wanting to warn friends and fans to take the novel coronavirus seriously. The singer-songwriter didn’t realize she also was making news as the latest notable name to contract the illness.

“I thought it was easier for me to tell my entire extended family by posting it,” she tells PEOPLE exclusively.

But within hours, the 25-year-old artist not only was making headlines, but she also was fielding several Twitter comments that accused her of not being careful enough or of even faking her illness.

The reactions took her aback — “it’s crazy how critical people have been when all I’m trying to do is share my experience” — but she also has come to realize why she was criticized.

Shorr knows people want to believe she might have taken unnecessary risks. In fact, she says, “I was being really diligent about it.”

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She also can now see why a few may have thought she wasn’t even sick. After all, she has been frequently posting on her socials in recent days and had never mentioned an illness. But Shorr has a ready answer for that: It took her eight full days to get her test result back — long enough to get past her worst stretch and almost completely recover from the virus.

In the midst of the illness, she says, “I wasn’t about to be vague, like, ‘I’m sick. It could be corona,’ but then it isn’t. That feels attention-seeking, right? So I was like, I’m going to wait it out and if it comes back positive, I’m going to talk about it.”

Shorr is grateful that most of the comments left by friends and fans were sympathetic, and she’s happy to report that she’s finally feeling “pretty normal.”

She experienced her first symptoms on March 22: It was the same day Nashville Mayor John Cooper issued a “shelter at home” directive, but a full 10 days after Shorr and her two Nashville roommates had begun social distancing. She still doesn’t know how or where she contracted the virus, but she suspects three outside events: two trips to a supermarket in that 10-day period and a Nashville tornado-relief benefit appearance on March 10. Her roommates, both musicians, also contracted the virus, so it seems obvious they passed it among themselves.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control, the incubation period for a coronavirus — from time of exposure to development of symptoms — can range from two to 14 days, most commonly around five days.

“I really was following all the CDC and WHO (World Health Organization) guidelines that I’d read,” she says. “I would change my clothes when I came in the house and wash them. I wasn’t sending myself into a panic, but I was certainly trying to be responsible.”

The day she became ill, Shorr says, “I woke up feeling fine, and then halfway through the day I just like felt like I’d been hit by a truck. I’m a very high-energy person, so I was like, where is this coming from?”

Almost simultaneously, one of her roommates also came down with the same symptoms: extreme fatigue, body aches and a fever. Shorr’s other roommate soon became ill, as well, but with lesser symptoms. Within a day, all three visited a walk-in clinic for testing.

Shorr was impressed with the care during the entire process, which took just 45 minutes, but she has no fond memories of the test itself. The swab, she says, was painful to her irritated sinuses and caused a bloody nose. “I’m not trying to discourage anybody from getting tested,” she says, “but I’m also saying this isn’t fun. Just stay in your house, so you don’t even have to get tested.”

Shorr was bedridden for three days with the worst symptoms, including night sweats and a fever that peaked at 100.8. She also lost her sense of smell and taste. By the fourth day, she was able to get around and “sit and watch Netflix.” She has steadily improved ever since. Treatment, she says, consisted of acetaminophen and lots of liquids.

Shorr knows she had what doctors would consider a “mild” case. But did it feel mild?

“No,” she quickly answers. “The very beginning was really awful.”

Still, Shorr says she knows she’s “super lucky,” and she credits her overall good health for her speedy recovery. Though her latest album, the critically acclaimed Open Book, features autobiographical lyrics that are filled with past excesses, Shorr says she’s now committed to healthy habits. “I can’t even tell you the last time I’ve smoked anything,” she says, “and I’m in super-good health. I take care of myself. I don’t even drink that much anymore.”

RELATED: A Bad Breakup and Her Sister’s Death Inspire Kalie Shorr to Record Her Daring Debut Open Book

In retrospect, would she have done anything different to ward off the virus?

“I probably would have worn gloves and a face mask” to the supermarket, she says, yet she adds, “I still felt like I did everything right.”

View this post on Instagram I dyed my hair purple today, hows ur quarantine breakdown going

A post shared by Kalie Shorr (@kalieshorr) on Mar 27, 2020 at 1:50pm PDT

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

Still self-quarantining, Shorr and her roommates, both of whom also recovered, are hopeful the bout will leave them immune to reinfection. According to the CDC, not enough is known yet about the immune response to COVID-19, but patients with other coronaviruses have been unlikely to be reinfected.

Perhaps, Shorr says, she’ll be able to participate in a medical study that’s searching for a cure; a number of researchers are now exploring whether antibodies from recovered patients can be turned into an effective drug. At the very least, she says, “I can volunteer to go to the store for people.”

Most of all, she wants her generation to follow health officials’ directives. “I still see people on social media getting together with groups of their friends and having ‘social distancing’ parties,” she says. “The only way we’re all gonna be able to get back to normal is if we take this seriously.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.



Source: People.com (https://people.com/country/kalie-shorr-coronavirus-diagnosis-recovery/)

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