Living through a pandemic: Baltimore woman shares experience with swine flu

Posted at 11:31 PM, Mar 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 23:34:14-04

BALTIMORE — A Baltimore woman who was diagnosed with H1N1 or better known as the swine flu is sharing her story about surviving a virus that was the most recent global pandemic before the coronavirus.

Mackenzie Morgan, 20, was diagnosed with the swine flu in 2009 when she was nine-years-old.

“I immediately thought I was going to die,” she said.

That was one of Mackenzie Morgan’s first thoughts when she received the news she had the swine flu.

"I was throwing up multiple times a day,” she said. “I started coughing uncontrollably…it was the worst cough of my life.”

Morgan says she was never hospitalized, but she was quarantined at home for a week.

“It’s a very scary place not knowing what's going to happen next,” Morgan said.

When Morgan was three-years-old, she was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma, a form of eye cancer. She was even more terrified about the virus because she was immunocompromised.

She eventually recovered from the swine flu, but when she returned to school she says her classmates weren’t welcoming.

"No one would come near me for like a week,” she said.

The swine flu outbreak of 2009 caused anxiety around the world, killing around 200,000 people, according to a study led by CDC researchers. More than 12,000 people died because of it in the U.S, including 46 people in Maryland.

In comparison, so far the coronavirus has killed nearly 5,000 people around the world, including more than 40 people in the U.S

The World Health Organization declared both viruses global pandemics.

Morgan says she feels for the people who are dealing with the coronavirus.

“Not knowing if you are going to be okay is very scary feeling so I definitely emphasize with people who are going through that,” she said.

She says staying positive is what got her through it.

"Taking it one day at a time every day…every sign of you getting better is something to be proud of and something to remind you to stay positive,” she said.