COVID-19: Public, health providers should follow guidance from local health authorities

Dr. Bridget O'Connell-Long

At age 22, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. It happened about a month after I graduated from college.

I had started my first job out of college three weeks prior, and my entire life changed that month. I received chemotherapy every other week, and in the following week, my blood counts would drop so low that I was vulnerable to numerous infections. I attended my appointments wearing a face mask into the hospital, with hand sanitizer in my pocket. I heard people around me coughing and sneezing, and I lived in fear that my fragile immune system wouldn't be able to keep me safe. I followed a special diet for immunosuppressed patients that meant I couldn't eat many fresh foods, for fear that even small amounts of bacteria could make me dangerously ill.