West Brom’s Austin warns others about seriousness of COVID-19

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Charlie Austin said he wants to warn young people about the dangers of COVID-19, the disease caused by a new coronavirus rapidly spreading across the world.

In an interview with the Telegraph Charlie Austin, currently of Championship side West Bromwich Albion and formerly of Southampton and Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League, said he’s experienced symptoms commonly associated with COVID-19. In a separate tweet, he clarified that he hasn’t been tested for the disease, but once he started feeling symptoms and spoke with West Bromwich Albion’s doctor Kevin Conrad, he immediately self-isolated in his home. His family were advised to do the same for the standard 14-day period.

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The 30-year-old striker stated he thought that he may have been infected while attending the Cheltenham Festival, an annual horse racing event that draws crowds of 250,000 and more. Austin said that he is going public with his diagnosis as a warning that despite rumors and reports that young people can easily battle the virus, his situation was proof that it’s a very serious health concern.

“Before I started feeling the symptoms on Saturday I was on the phone to my wife Bianca’s mother and I said to her that I hoped if anyone in our family got it that it would be me,” Austin said. “I felt like I was fit and healthy and I could handle it. A week later and I would say to anyone, even those in their 20s and 30s – ‘Don’t take it lightly – it’s serious’. I get that people who haven’t got it are going about their lives. Last week, I was living my life. Not that I didn’t take coronavirus seriously. But this is extremely serious and we should take it that way.”

Austin detailed how his temperature spiked over 103 degrees Fahrenheit, he developed a cough, and later had common symptoms associated with a fever. Austin’s point is to show that despite being in shape and a professional athlete, even he could suffer from the disease.

In his first season at West Bromwich after four years with Southampton, Austin has scored eight league goals in 26 matches. Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi is the only soccer player in England’s top two leagues who has publicly revealed that he’s tested positive for the virus, along with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.