There's a community on Reddit where COVID

The reality of life amid the coronavirus pandemic has seemingly shifted time — days blend together, a week feels like a month — so it's reasonable to feel like we've been dealing with the virus for ages.

But, in truth, we're still largely at the beginning of our experience with COVID-19. There's still so much we don't know. If you have the virus, think you have virus, or just want to know what it's like to be sick with COVID-19, there's still a hell of a lot of mystery. There's a laundry list of potential symptoms and wildly different levels of sickness, and new informations is coming out every day.

One community on Reddit is doing its best to help provide answers or, at the very least, a space to collect firsthand experiences with the virus. The subreddit, r/COVID19positive, is a place where people with the virus talk about their experiences and ask questions of others who have had it or currently have it. It also allows people to ask questions of those who tested positive and has a dedicated thread that collects the many conversations centered on "I Think I Have It."

The subreddit, which has almost 49,000 subscribers, effectively serves as a clearinghouse for the many different experiences people have had with the disease. It can be a scary place, for obvious reasons, but also an uplifting one. In one popular post from Thursday, for instance, a user — who described themselves as "a slightly fat, mildly asthmatic smoker"— updated the subreddit to share which symptoms had finally eased.

"My throat no longer hurts, I’m still more fatigued that usual but I’m free of the dreaded virus now," the update read. "I hope everyone is doing ok and I just wanted to pass on a positive update that even if you’re not the most healthy person in the world you can overcome it, you will feel shit, you’ll worry, you’ll take a while to get over it but in most cases you will get there."

The creator of the group, u/the1andonlyjoja, said they made the subreddit to find these sorts of stories from people who actually had the virus.

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"The media was only showing stories of pandemonium in hospitals, places shutting down, and people dying," they wrote in a message to Mashable. "I searched one evening to find stories of people surviving, regular people catching it, and the look of people with mild cases and couldn't find anything so I decided to create a subreddit based around first hand experiences."

The subreddit can be a fascinating look at how people are experiencing the virus. People describe all the different ways COVID-19 can manifest itself, such as detailed discussions about gastrointestinal issues and the timeline of all the different symptoms.

I found out about this sub last week. I came on here to see what people’s experiences have been. And fuck, everything has been terrified to read! I know it’s giving me more anxiety but I come to learn (I had no idea this thing could last more than 2 weeks and man, the range of symptoms people are reporting are maddening). Anyway, I am CONVINCED I have it. But everyone I try to vent to is telling me it’s “all in my head” because they know I am a hypochondriac with severe health anxiety.

To preface: the only times i leave my apartment is to walk the dogs. I only just started wearing a mask in the hallways this past week. So if I have it, it's probably from that. I also live with my husband.

Last Friday I had 4 bouts of diarrhea. Saturday normal. Sunday nothing. Monday to today normal (albeit in small amounts) BM. Stomach has felt “weird” on/off too, but no loose stool or diarrhea. My throat doesn’t hurt but it feels sore where my adam’s apple is. My chest hurts mildly in the center but comes and goes. And today ever since 2pm I have felt dizzy. I’ve been taking my temperature ever since my first bout of diarrhea and it’s been fluctuating in the 98 F range and 96 range. My normal temp (I take it a lot, like I said, hypochondriac) is usually in the 97 F range.

I’m so scared things are going to get worse from here on out. Because based on what I’ve read, symptoms come and go, get better and worse, and new ones arrive. So I’m afraid for what later tonight and tomorrow brings. I am convinced I have it because I read a study that GI symptoms can come before the dry cough or fever. And my GI symptoms started last Friday.

Does anyone have similar experience? I am so scared. I have extreme fear of vomiting and I really don’t want it to get to that point.

There are some rules to the subreddit: no medical advice, no memes, be kind, don't troll, don't fear-monger. Users' posts are tagged with flair that indicates if they had it/have it or if they are asking questions of those who did to clear up any confusion.

There's also the obvious caveat that there is no way to definitively know if people claiming to have COVID-19 actuallydo (or did). U/the1andonlyjoja said they tell people to take posts at face value and to use the subreddit as just one tool, "but if there is a suspicion of lies being told or someone is fear mongering or posting just for a reaction the mod team will discuss this individual and remove, mute or ban the poster."

For those coming to the subreddit for encouragement, it does appear to be a source of support for some. One person, for instance, recently posted about finding out they were positive and admitted they felt scared and guilty for possibly infecting others. Commenters rushed-in to reassure the original poster that nobody chooses to have the virus and people are mostly doing their best in a hard time.


For an online space that deals with such a frightening thing, r/COVID19positive does seem to be a place that attempts to put things in a well, more positive, light.

The1andonlyjoja wrote that the subreddit has helped them and other people "know not everyone is dying, not everyone will end up on a ventilator and know that one day we will back to normal but till then we are all in this together."

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