It all started when Bettina Rowley’s 5-year old and 3-year old children tested positive to coronavirus.
Immediately, she and her kids were isolated in a hospital room.
Ms. Rowley narrated:
“[The staff] said to us, ‘Look, we don’t want to come in here too often, only in an absolute emergency’. So they showed me how to work the machines,”
“As a mum, you’re just like, ‘oh my gosh’.”
“They’re always saying kids don’t get sick. Now you are in hospital with both of your kids and you feel very, very lonely and very scared.”
The Rowley family lives in the town of Fussen near Munich, Germany. But for 11 years, they lived on Australia’s Sunshine Coast, where their kids Charlotte (5) and Frederick (3) were both born.
Ms. Rowley said her kids are normally both really active, crazy little beings, but that changed dramatically a few weeks ago.
She continued, saying:
“It was a warmer day so we were outside, the kids were playing, we’re all fine. And then by 6:00 pm they just looked really, really rundown,”
“I thought, ‘Oh geez, they’re coming down with something’. And then two hours later they both, like clockwork — and it had never happened before — they both had over 40-degree temperatures.
“I did say to my husband, ‘Do you really think? Could this be the coronavirus?’ And we were like, ‘Nah, surely not’.”
Ms. Rowley called their doctor and got the kids tested. Twenty-four hours later, both of them developed a dry cough.
“Then the pediatrician called and said ‘yes, they’ve tested negative for the flu and positive for coronavirus,”
Health authorities began calling Ms. Rowley later that day. She continued:
“I said, ‘Look, I don’t know what to do. I can’t control the temperatures and they’re starting to drink less and less’. She said, ‘Please get your pediatrician to admit you to hospital’.”
“They were really quite unwell’
Ms. Rowley said that while they were in hospital in Bavaria the kids’ “white blood cells were just so low they actually had no immune system left”.
She continued her story:
“We were lucky it never got to the lungs,”
“My daughter kept saying her throat is so sore, she can’t taste anything, so she didn’t want to eat.”
“And my son just slept quite a lot. And for them [to go from] being so active to just lie in a bed, that meant they were really quite unwell.”
Andrew Steer, who heads the infection and immunity research team at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, reported around 4 percent of coronavirus cases in Australia are in children.
Professor Steer said:
“Because the disease appears to be mild in children, it may be actually that there are more cases in children.”
“There is in the community concern that children might be super spreaders, and the evidence that we have today is that that’s not the case, but I think we need to do more research.”
Ms. Rowley can’t help but ask: ‘Where did we get this from?’
According to reports, both Charlotte and Frederick have recovered and are now back at home with their parents. But still, Ms. Rowley said she and her husband had no idea where their children picked the virus up.
“I’ve been thinking about this over and over, where could we get this from?” she said.
“I’ve been thinking maybe I brought it home from the shops. We can’t explain it.
“They were still in kindergarten before the whole shutdown happened here. Who knows if it’s from there? Daycare, schools, it’s just a breeding ground.”
Ms. Rowley emphasized that it was not easy to go public with their story because of the fear and panic that it might bring to others, but she just hoped it might serve as a warning to parents out there.
“We did this so that other people are aware and parents are aware this can happen,” she said.
“It is important to listen to health professionals and look after your families now.”