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'Hurts to breathe:' Lamar University student wants other young adults to learn from his experience with COVID-19

"Anybody can get the virus, you're not invincible."

BEAUMONT, Texas — Like many who have had COVID-19, one Lamar University student said it has changed his outlook on life. Karlton Johnson is hoping young adults like himself can learn from the difficulty he's faced in battling the virus. 

"This thing has a brother down," Johnson said.

Nearly two weeks into quarantine, Johnson is facing one of his toughest battles ever.

"It's more than just a cold, it's more than just losing your taste and smell. You don't have any energy, you're weak, you're drained and it hurts to move. It hurts to breathe," Johnson said. 

What was supposed to be a quick trip home for the holiday turned into a nightmare after several of his relatives tested positive for the virus after Christmas. 

"I'm glad that I went home, because at the end of the day, nobody knew until the day after Christmas," Johnson said. "So we couldn't control it, so at that point we're just like what do we do next?"

RELATED: Where can I get a COVID-19 test?

Port Arthur Public Health Director Judith Smith said COVID-19 has gone from impacting the elderly population to those who are young, like Johnson. 

"Anybody can get the virus, you're not invincible. It's still best to do those protective measures to keep yourself safe," Smith said. 

After noticing an uptick in cases among adults 18 to 30, Smith organized a forum to help younger folks put things into perspective. 

"Just because you're young and healthy does not mean that it could not leave some serious impacts, serious complications. We just really don't know so it best to do those protective measures to keep yourself safe," Smith said.

As Johnson's quarantine comes to an end, he's hopeful others can learn from his story. 

This week the state is offering COVID-19 testing across the Port Arthur area. Doctors say it's best to know your status before gathering with loved ones. 

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