Anna Camp says she got coronavirus the one time she didn’t wear a mask


Like Jennifer Aniston, Anna Camp is advocating for people to wear masks to help flatten the curve on COVID-19. And, like Jen, Anna is taking a more graphic approach in her argument. Unfortunately, Anna’s experience is firsthand as she contracted the virus about two months ago. Anna thinks the one time she didn’t wear a mask she caught the virus. On Tuesday, Anna posted the photo above, in the cute panda mask, to her Instagram. But it’s her caption that I hope everyone reads and takes to heart. She describes her “mild” case of COVID. People who think they can handle it are not prepared for what they are in for.

Hi friends… I felt it was my responsibility to share that I ended up getting Covid-19. I have since tested negative, but I was extremely sick for over three weeks and still have lingering symptoms. I was incredibly safe. I wore a mask. I used hand sanitizer. One time, when the world was starting to open up, I decided to forgo wearing my mask in public. One. Time. And I ended up getting it. I believe it may have been because of that one time. People are saying it’s like having the flu, but I’ve had the flu, and this is absolutely not that. The panic of contracting a virus that is basically untreatable and is so new that no one knows the long term irreparable damage it does to your immune system is unbelievably stressful. Completely losing my sense of smell and taste without knowing when or even if they will return is extremely disorienting. I’m only smelling about 30 percent of how I used to now. Other persistent symptoms are (a month later) dizziness, extreme fatigue, impacted sinuses, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, and fever. I’m lucky. Because I didn’t die. But people are. Please wear ur mask. It can happen any time. And it can happen to anyone. Even that one time you feel safe. We can all make a difference. Wearing a mask is saving lives. Thank you to everyone who reached out to check on me during this scary time. Please be safe out there. Let’s all do our part and wear a mask. I don’t want any of you to go through what I did. Even though it’s a little thing, it can have a huge impact, and it’s so incredibly easy to do❤️

[From Anna Camp’s Instagram via People]

When people say that COVID is like a bad flu, they think of the seasonal viruses that come around every year and make us sick for few days. I’ve had the flu, as in influenza, it was the worst physical experience I have ever had – and it only lasted for five days. So likening COVID to a longer version of the flu only scares me more. But Anna pretty clearly lists all the reasons to avoid this thing like, well, the plague (there is a reason that is a turn of phrase). I can attest to the fatigue, a friend of a friend who recovered from COVID about three months ago (she did not require a hospital stay) still cannot go a full day without napping from exhaustion. But listen to what Anna is still going through: fever, nausea to the point of vomiting, dizziness – and it’s been almost two months? Plus, as she said, she has no idea how long she will be impacted, what if some of those symptoms last years? I like that she emphasized that on top of the physical torture, there’s a psychological torment of what still awaits you. Remember, we’re still learning about this thing.

I very much appreciate Anna posting this and going into such detail. I almost wish she used a photo at her lowest to further emphasize her point, but I probably would have gone with the cute panda mask photo for social media as well. The fact is, nobody owes us these first-hand accounts, they are doing us a favor. Hopefully we will all heed their warnings and make it long enough to see a vaccine.



Photo credit: Instagram and WenN/Avalon

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58 Responses to “Anna Camp says she got coronavirus the one time she didn’t wear a mask”

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  1. Emma33 says:

    When this all kicked off I stayed with my 85 year old dad and was really only concerned about becoming a vector for the virus (he is very high risk). But I have significant and debilitating health issues, which include fatigue and heart problems, and I’m now pretty scared of what this virus might do to me in the medium or long-term.

  2. Lightpurple says:

    “I’m lucky. Because I didn’t die.”

    Pretty much says it all. May she continue to improve. Several friends who have had it and survived are still struggling with problems like blood clots months later.

    • Sojaschnitzel says:

      My best friend and her entire family had it in march or april and last month she said that she still has only 30% of her smell back. Exact same number as this lady here. This virus is some really scary shit.

      • Tate says:

        My husband had what was considered a mild case in April. He has been back to the doctors a couple of times because he wasn’t feeling right. His heart is slightly enlarged from Covid. This virus is no joke even when you get a mild case.

  3. Nikki says:

    I’m with you 100% Hecate. I’m scared of it, and I appreciate her posting this to try to warn others. Experience is the best teacher, but a fool will learn no other way. I hope someone listens to her!

    • detritus says:

      There is talk of mental impairments from contracting COVID, as well. That there may be a generation of cognitive deficits like after the Spanish Flu.

      Permanently losing or having severely diminished sense of smell/taste would probably fall under this umbrella but that’s not the only risk.

      We just don’t know yet, but we do know masks help prevent spread and more evidence is showing it protects the wearer, not just others.

  4. manda says:

    I agree, the comparisons to the flu have done nothing to assuage my fears. The flu is awful! I’ve had it one time and I can still remember just SOBBING from the pain in my joints. I am petrified of covid and it seems like half or more of this country is just like, “oh well, whatever!”

    I’ve been thinking that people from other countries must really think people from the States are dumb and/or greedy, because the only reasons we have for not protecting ourselves are conspiracy/fake/freedoms and “we need to open up stores and bars”! I heard a county in my state is going to start requiring people to wear masks at the gym. um, yeah, you think???? it’s a cesspool in there I can’t believe so many people are still going to the gym

    • Alexandria says:

      The scary thing is even if you recover, some are reporting permanent damage to their lungs and other parts. We are still learning about this virus. Stay safe everyone.

      In Singapore, our government did not mandate masks in the beginning and had to make a uturn on this. Now all of us wear a mask except to eat or drink in public.

      • manda says:

        AND also let’s not forget that there are reported cases of people getting it twice (!!) and apparently that second time is usually worse. And yes, the long term effects on some people are disabling. And yes, we still are just learning! It will probably be years before we really know what’s up with this thing. That is why I don’t understand why some people are soooo blase. Not like I’m camped out in a quarantine tent, but I have definitely been foregoing any off-my-property activity unless it is necessary. Needless to say, been a boring summer

      • Alexandria says:

        At least our neighbours like Malaysia have domestic tourism so they have been having a respite and visiting other states for holiday after it is allowed. Singapore is so small so we feel so stuck here. The minister has advised leisure travel would be indefinitely cancelled. Most of us also don’t dare to travel out of the country for leisure because if any citizen catches COVID, they are not entitled to state hospital subsidies and need to pay cash.

    • theothercleo says:

      Exactly! I’ve had the flu three years ago and I remember crying from pain,lying in my bed for a week and not being able to be awake more than an hour at the time. I also was very tired for abouth a month afterwards. I was a healthy 25 years old. I don’t want to find out what a “bad” flu is.

    • Anna says:

      Other countries have long though this of the U.S. and they’ve been right especially judging by how most Americans act abroad. It’s just now that the U.S. is waking up to the truth of how dumb, greedy, and backward it is, now when it’s almost too late.

      • Singtress says:

        I don’t think you meant it this way, but please don’t lump all us Americans together.
        We are fighting with strangers and friends every damn day just to put on a damn mask and not be cocky and Whiny about this.
        Many of us have taken it seriously for a long time and have been begging lawmakers and others to give a shit.

        As an aside, it is beyond frustrating to see the whole world thinking we all are selfish idiots. The selfish Idiots don’t speak for us all.
        They just get more media coverage cause clicks = money.

    • Onerous says:

      This! My 17 year old actually had H1N1 the week before our schools shut down here – the doctors were SO serious about it and made all of the rest of us go on Tamiflu. For “just” the flu. She’s a 17 year old athlete and it took her at least a month to fully recover, even tho the Tamiflu helped tremendously with the worst aspects in just a couple of days. No way would I want to risk it.

  5. Gutterflower says:

    Her going without a mask wouldn’t necessarily be the time she got it as the mask is to protect other people from your droplets, not yourself. Everyone needs to wear their mask for this to work. Everyone.

    • manda says:

      That’s another scary thing!! You can have it for a little bit before showing signs! I can only image the guilt trip I would lay on myself if I got it doing something frivolous

    • Alexandria says:

      Yes everyone needs to wear a mask. Previously there was a shortage but now there are so many options. The N95 masks should continue to be prioritised for healthcare workers.

      • Mich says:

        For the rest of us, the KN95 masks are a good option. They are the Chinese version of our N95s and much more widely available.

    • ChillyWilly says:

      I think a regular cloth mask AND social distancing gives the wearer some protection so I wouldn’t be surprised if Anna got the virus the one time she went maskless.

    • swedish chef says:

      Everyone needs to wear a mask and wear it CORRECTLY! I see so many people with it pulled down under their nose. Any droplets caught by the mask would be inhaled. And you can’t touch it while wearing it and disinfect your hands after removing and storing it correctly (in plastic bag etc) then clean or dispose of it appropriately. Part of the reason people were discouraged from wearing masks in the beginning is not only supply but because people weren’t trained for proper use. I see improper use everywhere I go and people are going to get infected that way.

  6. Tanguerita says:

    I have a friend, who got sick in the middle of May. Two months in, she STILL has pneumonia, (despite two courses of antibiotics), her sense of smell is gravely impacted, she lost weight, her joints are swollen, but yeah, a simple flu, nothing to worry about. I don’t get it, I really don’t. I live in Germany where they managed to avoid the worst case scenario, but the numbers have been consistently climbing up in the past few weeks and the reproduction rate is now over one again. Still, I see people behaving absolutely irresponsible and aggressively so. I am worried sick about my parents, who need medical attention on the regular basis and can’t just stay completely cooped up at home. I dread the moment when people come back from their vacations in Spain where the infections tripled in the past week and Holland (double as much as before) and kids start going to school. It’s going to be back to what we had in March, only worse, because people are tired and egoistic.

    • manda says:

      I’m so sorry, I hope your friend’s health improves

    • Wilma says:

      Right? I live in The Netherlands and our reproduction number just got up to 1,29 (for the first time since early April) and people are sending photos from Spain, Italy, Germany, France. What the hell are they doing on vacation? My sister-in-law send us photos from them attending a non socially distanced large barbeque and then was surprised we didn’t want to meet up with them. We are still in our own personal lockdown but I dread having to return to work in four weeks.

      • Tanguerita says:

        Absolutely. Sometimes you have to admire the audacity (or cluelessness, but at this point in time these two qualities are interchangeable in my mind) of people. You can’t imagine (strike it off, of course you can) what I get to hear from my relatives and friends – by now on a daily basis: I am labeled as stuck-up and strange, and a joyless alarmist, just because I politely refuse to participate in group outings to restaurants, exhibitions, get-togethers where people who hardly know each other, neither wear masks nor social distance. I am past rage now, just feel defeated.

      • emmy says:

        I live in Germany and we are doing reasonably well. My coworker went to Italy 2 weeks ago. Right now my boss is on vacation there. I just don’t know anymore. I have elderly parents and a very ill father. I wouldn’t dream of traveling this year.

      • Tanguerita says:

        @emmy That’s what makes me so angry, you know. You wouldn’t and I wouldn’t, but these people will just bring it home to us. I am in Germany, too and we had been doing rather well, all things considering, but for the past few weeks the city we I live has been adding at least ten new active infections a day. It doesn’t seem like much, but at this rate we’ll be back to the numbers from March in three weeks.

      • emmy says:

        @Tanguerita: I’m on a train right now (couldn’t be avoided) and half the people aren’t wearing masks and are talking the entire time. I’m not an aggressive person but I want to yell at them for being dumb as sh*t assh*les. I’m at a point where I don’t care if careless idiots get sick.

        ETA: I’m not on vacation, I should stress that. And it’s a short trip. But still. You get so paranoid, someone just caughed and I want to slap them for not wearing a mask.

  7. Stacy Dresden says:

    More celebs should share their experiences. I applaud her

  8. emmy says:

    I had influenza twice in my life. The first time I barely remember because I was pretty much unconscious for a week and fainted every time I went to the bathroom. Not to get graphic but the indignity of being found having just fallen off the toilet… glad it was my sister. Second time around just hurt. I had a crazy fever and was just in pain. And took 3 months until I was back to normal. And I would still prefer that over Covid, simply because of all the unknowns.

    • Wilma says:

      I think a lot of people don’t really know what the flu actually is and ascribe all symptoms of a cold to it.

      • emmy says:

        Yes. Recently a colleague was wondering if she’s ever had it and I told her no. If she did, she would know. Even the worst cold is nothing compared to it.

      • megs283 says:

        Wilma, I agree. I’ve never had the flu. My mom is a warrior…never shows signs of being hurt, sick, tired, etc. But I remember when she had the flu – I was 6 and it was Christmas. I came upon her sitting on our stairs with her head in her hands.

      • Also Ali says:

        Agree re the flu not being a cold. The flu is awful. It hurts!

        An issue is that there are asymptotic and mild cases of covid. My brother, who before testing positive thought it was all a big fuss over “another flu virus”, got the mild version. He had fever aches and was tired for a couple of weeks and that was it. No one else in his house got sick. Now they all are convinced there’s nothing to be worried about.

      • tealily says:

        I know somebody who had an antibodies test done because they donated blood and found out that they had the antibodies! They had no idea they had been sick, which is scary. You can see how it spreads!

      • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

        Agree. I had influenza A many years ago and was sooooo sick-104 degree fever and at one point a mucous plug in my lung- thought I was gonna have a respiratory arrest. Luckily, albuterol nebulizer treatment opened me up enough to cough clear it so I could breathe more normally. The aches, the sopping bed from fever sweats- horrible.

        Since that experience, I never miss my annual flu vaccine.

      • Mel M says:

        Exactly! We all had influenza b over Christmas, which apparently was worse this last flu season then influenza a and effects kids worse. My kids and husband had it first and then myself and the baby got it a few days after Christmas even though I was quarantining with her up in my bedroom. The pictures of my kids on Christmas Day are so sad, the look in their eyes. It made for a super quiet Christmas morning. Thank goodness the baby had only a low fever and snot nose for a couple of days. My husband and I though were down for at least a week each and it’s was like I got hit by a truck. When we told family we had the flu they either thought we were throwing up because everyone calls gastroenteritis the flu or thought it was a glorified cold, no. I had to specify influenza. I hadn’t had the flu in so long either that I did not remember how bad it was.

      • Desdemona says:

        I know the flu can be terrible but not everyone who has the flu almost dies. A few years ago I had h1n1 and my symptoms were sore throat, runny nose and a slight fever for 12 days. Of course, maybe the reason I only had light symptons was related to the fact that I take the flu shot every single year since I’m a teacher and schools are a cesspool of viruses. But one thing is for sure, except for when I was a kid, as an adult I had never experienced fever for more than 2/ 3 days. I actually went to the doctor because the fever was continuous and was already lasting for five days, a record to me… Let alone the 12days it lasted.. This scares the hell out of me… 😢

  9. Betsy says:

    My only time getting influenza was a year ago, and I had had the vaccine so it was milder, but it took us (my entire family got it) weeks to feel like we had any energy. Seriously, weeks of having to go to bed at 7:30/8:00 after the initial illness was gone.

    There’s a chance my entire family also got covid in February. If so, we all got a very mild case, but this virus just seems like the worst thing in the world. It’s mild except when it’s severe, you can be asymptomatic until you start developing complications later, oh yeah and it can become severe and deadly even in healthy young people.

    The GOP needs to be sorely punished for this. None of this had to happen. Had he not fired the woman in China whose sole purpose was to investigate nascent viruses, perhaps it would never have become an epidemic in Wuhan, let alone get out of China. Donald Trump fcked up so badly in so many ways that I couldn’t list them all. And still the GOP supports him.

  10. Case says:

    “I’ve had the flu, as in influenza, it was the worst physical experience I have ever had – and it only lasted for five days.“

    THANK YOU. My mom always swore the majority of people who claimed to casually “have the flu” for a couple days literally just had a bad cold, and those are the same people who now act like COVID isn’t much worse than that (they’re also the same people who say vaccines don’t work). Influenza, when that’s what you truly have, is very, very serious and can be fatal.

    • Nina says:

      Agreed, all these comments about “it’s no worse than the flu” – just ugh. my husband and I both had the ‘real’ flu once almost 20 years ago and I can still remember that neither of us could get out of bed – we were in our 30s and healthy as horses then – and BOTH of our mothers had to come over to help us!

    • EMc says:

      This!! And it extends to people who also refuse to get the flu shot because it “gives them the flu.” It’s frustrating. I work in a pharmacy and I cringe every time someone comes up and says “What do you recommend for the flu?” And go on to tell me they have a sore throat and stuffy nose. Sometimes I try to gently let them know that what they have isn’t the flu, but usually it blows up in my face. I expect the same if and when we have a vaccine for Covid 19. Its going to the the same thick headed ignorant folks.

      • Case says:

        It makes me crazy when people say the flu vaccine gives them the flu. It really concerns me that the fact that so many people don’t truly understand flu symptoms or how the flu vaccine works has hindered our chances of getting rid of this thing even more. People who have no fear feel that way because they’ve only ever gotten a cold and thus think something similar to the flu is no big deal. And people who think flu vaccines are ineffective or give them the virus will refuse a COVID vaccine. Ugh.

    • Mich says:

      I’m not sure I’ve ever had the flu. I have been HORRIFICALLY sick from cornoaviruses though with symptoms similar to how they describe Covid and the lungs, so I am terrified. One other fun thing about cornoaviruses is how they cause unexpected problems like viral meningitis (been there, done that, it sucked).

  11. Tina says:

    I am in no way trying to diminish her post…but what was she doing that “one” time she went out without a mask? Again, I think it’s great she’s helping to bring awareness, I just side eye some of these people who say they went out “once” or they “don’t know how they caught it”. In her case, If she did go out “once” it seems likely she would know where she got it but she’s not saying. So was it a bar? Friends house? Disney world?

    Her desire to bring awareness is great. So is her almost full transparency about everything. But I think it’s interesting she’s not saying where/how she got it. Because that would be full transparency.

    • tealily says:

      Does it really matter? She doesn’t owe us that information.

      • Tina says:

        She doesn’t “owe” us anything but I think it would be helpful to know how she got it to help raise awareness. Did she get it outside? Did she get it inside? Did she get it while sitting outside at a restaurant? To me, it’ makes a difference knowing how she got it.

    • Michelle says:

      I agree. I side-eyed this as well. Either she has gone out more than once without a mask, or she only went out that one time without it and was at a very public place. I am wondering if she exercises outdoors with her mask on…

  12. Teebee says:

    I’m pretty sure I had H1N1 in 2009. I had travelled through the US and hit major busy tourist attractions in late summer. 2 weeks later I got sick (Canada) and lay on my back unable to eat, drink, move for 3 weeks. It was the worst Illness I’ve ever suffered in my 52 years. I lost 15 pounds and bled from ODing on ibuprofen because of the pain. I have absolutely no desire to take a chance experiencing a novel virus on my system.

    I don’t doubt that serious illness and death are a fraction of sufferers of Covid. But it is that smallest percentage of people who defy the odds that scares me. I liken it to a lottery (but one with a horrible prize). You don’t know if you’ll be that random “winner”, suffering or dying because your biological system just happens to react violently and aggressively against this new virus.

    How can anyone operate otherwise? Why take the chance?

    • Case says:

      I feel the same way. Generally, my family (especially my mom) tends to always get the rare illness/disorder/side effect that the majority of people don’t experience, and that scares me when it comes to this. I can’t imagine taking my chances on this when it has killed so many young and/or healthy people. It’s so unpredictable I don’t understand how some can mock others for being scared of catching it.

  13. Lizzie says:

    From the start in Wuhan it was known this virus spreads like wildfire, much greater than the flu. That has been the hallmark of this virus all along.
    It doesn’t matter if you have isolated for 3 months if you go out unprotected tomorrow. All that matters is what you do today and tomorrow. Please wear a mask. I enjoy everyone’s comments here and hope to keep reading them for a long time. Stay safe and well everyone.

  14. amurph says:

    I had the flu (type A) in February. I never get a temp higher than 97 and I had a fever of 103.5. It hit me so quickly that one day I thought I was getting a sinus infection, which is a common thing, to full-blown flu. I had the chills so intense that my fitbit registered it as exercise. My mom had contact with me for 1 day since I couldn’t function and someone needed to care for my dogs. She ended up hospitalized with the flu, multi-focal pneumonia, and c-diff. She was in the hospital for over a week and couldn’t maintain her oxygen levels at all. Both her and I are high risk with Covid (my mom’s even higher as in her doctors would prefer she never left the house). I’ve already lost a friend to Covid (she was 33). I get so frustrated when people say “the flu is worse”. No. The flu is horrific but Covid is far far worse. We don’t know yet the lasting effect Covid has on people. Wear a mask! Stop having parties (too many)! Being outside at a party does not make it okay.

    • EMc says:

      This sounds horrible, and I’m sorry. The dumbing down of what things are, especially the flu, is dangerous. People consider everything the “flu”.. upset stomach and diarrhea? I had the stomach flu. Slight fever and cough? Flu. Even my parents frustrate me about the flu, and I’ve been a pharmacist for 12 years and they should know better. If I say one of my kids isnt feeling well “Sounds like he has the flu.” No it doesn’t!! I’ve started referring to the flu as the flu, actual influenza flu, when I discuss it. Because everyone out there thinks everything is the flu and it’s dangerous because nobody takes it seriously. Whats there to be afraid of when John next door had the flu and he only felt sick for a day or so? Ugh!

  15. Leah says:

    I had the flu a few years ago and it felt like I had been hit by a hammer. I remember coming home on the bus and clinging to the railing like I was going to pass out. After ten days of being sick, the bronchitis set in for three months. My lungs have never been the same. This is why I fear covid-19 so much because combined with the lung damage I now have heart issues (genetic, not due to the flu) so it would be curtains for me. I don’t know why people insist on comparing this monster to the flu, because it’s symptoms go beyond what the flu does.

  16. msd says:

    I’m in Australia and we were doing really well with only about 100 deaths in the whole country. We thought we’d dodged a bullet and got complacent. Then – bam! – our second biggest city, Melbourne, got an outbreak out of hotel quarantine and it quickly spiralled out of control. Now 20 more people have died, aged care facilities are in crisis, one whole city is back in a 6 week lockdown and has mandated wearing masks, and other cities are super nervous. And yet some people and businesses still aren’t careful! This is truly the new normal. It’s not fun but it’s reality.

    And yeah, I’m in a ‘safer’ demographic but I really don’t want to get it or pass it on. Serious, life changing side effects have been reported for all age groups. This virus is not f*cking around.

  17. lucy2 says:

    I’m glad she’s recovering, how scary. Her symptoms sound awful. I went through dizziness and extreme fatigue with Lyme, and the dizziness took a full year to go away, and still flares up occasionally.
    So many people seem to think they got through the initial lockdown, and now everything’s fine. It’s insane.

  18. Bunny says:

    The last time I had the flu I ended up in the hospital.

    The flu is no joke.

    Covid19 is much worse.