A Charlotte, North Carolina anchor’s unflinching and thorough account of nearly every member of her immediate family having COVID-19 just days after she gave birth is a reminder that the coronavirus can have varying symptoms. Regardless of how COVID-19 manifests, she assures readers that coronavirus is not a hoax.
“This is not a made-up fictitious illness,” Molly Grantham, an anchor at Charlotte’s WBTV wrote on Facebook in a post that has been shared nearly 60,000 times. “It’s real. I watched my 10-day-old get a nasal swab from a nurse practitioner covered head-to-toe in a protective suit, while his 9-year-old sister tried to calm him without being allowed to touch him.”
Grantham did not respond to a TODAY request for an interview.
The ordeal all started when Grantham gave birth to her third child, Hobie. When mom and baby first arrived home, the family acted like anyone does with an infant — lots of hugs, kisses and cuddles. They had no idea that anyone in their family had been exposed to COVID-19. Later, the family’s pediatrician explained that people can contract coronavirus just about anywhere and do not know.
“'The cat is out of the bag,'” Grantham recalled the doctor saying. “We should all be careful but there’s a chance everyone will have it at some point. We hear of people every day who are positive and have no idea where they got it.”
About 18 hours after Grantham had returned home from the hospital, her daughter, Parker, 9, said her throat hurt and her ears popped when she swallowed. Normally, Grantham would just assume Parker had allergies. But she asked the pediatrician to test her and brother, Hutch, 5, for COVID-19 — just to be safe.
“I half-thought I was being helicopter-parent crazy, but whatever,” she said. “Nothing lost if the test was negative.”
Grantham spent the night soothing the girl, who was feeling feverish, sweaty, nauseated and tossing and turning.
“She felt like absolute hell. Wes and I were up more with her that night than 4-day-old Hobie,” she wrote. “Watching Parker toss and sweat, combined with having a newborn with zero immune system nearby, combined with middle of the night hazy-unclear thoughts … it added up to awful.”
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The next day Parker woke feeling “better” without a fever. Yet, the family’s story had just started. Wes admitted he couldn’t smell or taste anything and he felt exhausted. So, he, too, got a test.
“Even if Parker’s was a stomach bug, the one symptom that defines coronavirus is ‘no taste; no smell.’ We had to assume Wes was positive,” Grantham said.
Hutch and Hobie acted normally and Grantham just felt run down. She didn’t worry too much about it as being worn down seemed like part of the postpartum experience. Then they received the coronavirus test results for Parker and Hutch. Parker’s was positive, while Hutch’s was negative.
The doctor said they should assume Hutch is positive, too, and recommended that Wes, Hutch and Parker stay in area of the house and Grantham and Hobie in another. If they interacted they should all wear masks.
Quarantining and mask wearing was too much. Wes struggled to work while fighting the infection while Grantham couldn’t “parent P and H through the walls.”
After a day, the family resumed normal contact as Grantham noticed her body aches persisted and she developed a “pounding headache that wouldn’t go away.” Wes learned he, too, was positive for COVID-19. Then Hutch’s fever rose to 100.7. So Grantham called the pediatrician who again encouraged her to assume Hutch has COVID-19 and urged Grantham to get a test. She balked — she didn’t even have a fever. The doctor replied:
“Needing to have a fever is a misconception with coronavirus … You’re at high risk with a newborn and three of your family members are now for sure positive.”
The nurse at the drive-up clinic gave Grantham a rapid test and told her she needed a chest X-ray after a racking cough interrupted their chat. She also recommended that Hobie get a test, too. Grantham had pneumonia and COVID-19. But Hobie’s test was negative.
“More than 10 days later, Hobie has not shown one symptom. I have watched him like a hawk. Over-studied every breath while watching his tiny rib cage rise and fall,” she said.
Grantham took one antibiotic for the pneumonia but had an allergic reaction. The next one made her nauseated but she still takes them.
While the last two weeks felt “crazy,” the family is slowly recovering.
“Relief is an underrated sensation. It covers me right now as I watch the kids argue and Hobie sleepily smile and Wes feel okay … and yes ... I am getting my energy back,” she said. "I’ve been consumed thinking about the families who make up the growing statistics we see day after day after day. The people filled with pain and loss who aren’t okay. Currently, North Carolina has had close to 2,000 people die … my heart breaks for those people.”
That’s one reason why she shared what she learned and encourages others to avoid conspiracy theories.
“Be careful. Share the lessons. Symptoms range from almost anything mild to anything notable. Just, please, be smart and only spread factual information.”