A young Australian is cautioning others to follow COVID-19 protocols after her infection left her with permanent loss of some senses.
Livia Bowman, 29, from Tweed in New South Wales (NSW), returned home on March 16 last year after visiting Ireland for 10 days. While she arrived in Australia with no immediate COVID-19 symptoms, she later developed fevers, lower back pain, and she struggled to breathe just days after returning. She likens her experience to "someone sitting on [her] chest".
She received a positive test result on March 20 and then spent five days in hospital trying to recover from the virus.
Bowman told Daily Mail Australia she now has scarring on her lungs and permanent nerve damage, meaning she's lost her sense of taste and smell forever.
"I basically eat and drink because I know I have to do it to stay alive and healthy, not because I look at something and think, 'Hmm, this looks yummy or this drink is tasty'," she told the outlet.
"I could literally sprinkle my meals with dirt and not notice."
Before she caught the virus, she says she had underlying health conditions, including a 50 percent lung capacity and only one kidney. She was also born with all her digestive organs on the outside of her body. Doctors are unsure if her health conditions impacted her recovery from the virus.
Australia is currently facing a COVID-19 outbreak. NSW is in lockdown after an outbreak of the Delta variant began on June 16 that is linked to an unvaccinated airport limo driver in Sydney. The state recorded 105 new locally acquired cases on Sunday, which is the third-highest number of new daily infections since this latest outbreak began.
Victoria is also in a snap five-day lockdown after the virus spread there.
Bowman says while she had a relatively mild bout of the virus compared to some cases, she urges others to know that everyone will have a different experience and they need to follow local COVID-19 guidelines.
"Every person will handle it differently. Some may recover quicker than others whereas some may not be as fortunate."
Australia has recorded a total of 31,771 cases, of which 1170 are currently active.