MANILA– The grim realities of COVID-19 have painted a new picture of the ongoing Miss Earth 2020 pageant preliminaries with the revelation of Miss Costa Rica Kelly Avila Mora that she is infected with the virus and is still reeling from it.
Avila disclosed her ongoing illness last Tuesday in the getting to know you showcase of the pageant, where fellow Latina candidate Miss Venezuela Stephany Zreik asked about her health condition and what she learned from it.
In mixed emotions, Avila reiterated there should be no shame in admitting COVID-19 infection.
“I have to share this with you to make us stronger. Life is so fragile we have to take care of it," said Avila, who is currently in her home country.
She also thanked the kindness of organizers for letting her go on with the virtual pageant despite struggling with COVID-19’s debilitating symptoms.
In her latest health update released by Miss Earth to ABS-CBN News Friday night, Avila detailed how COVID-19 took its toll on her beginning end of September.
Towards the end of her quarantine, she is still experiencing the effects of the infection.
Here’s her unedited account:
“My quarantine started since the first moment I knew that I have covid, by September 30.
On Monday of the same week I start to feel so tired but I thought of all my Miss Earth journey and my job because I was doing so much and I didn’t sleep well, just few hours per day and I was doing so much during the day so I believed it was for all of this I was tired, on Tuesday I start coughing and one friend told me in the night that he got the covid and I had direct contact with him, at night I start to feel temperature and so much pain in my body, on Wednesday I still with those symptoms a little bit stronger than yesterday, by Thursday I had diarrhea on Friday I got tested and I have to say it hurts so much, I cried like for 5 minutes because my nose and airways were already very irritated for that day.
Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the follow days were the worst, I lost the smell of everything and taste of the food, the temperature were so high, my breathing were so affected because I start to cough and lose the air in my lungs, I live in a third floor and when I used the stairs, my breathing was affected.
I had all the symptoms of the covid issue but not at the same time, it was like 2 or 3 per day. I'm still having strong headaches.”
Avila is one of 83 international beauties vying for the Miss Earth crown and title currently held by Puerto Rican Nellys Pimentel. The model and scout advocate has yet to participate in the question and answer, evening gown, swimsuit and national costume preliminaries leading to the online finals and coronation on November 29.
Philippines candidate Roxie Baeyens told ABS-CBN News Avila is an inspiration with her forthright admission of her condition.
“I was very touched and inspired by Miss Costa Rica. Seeing how passionate and resilient she was to continue advocating for Mother Earth despite her condition. How brave of her to share her story with us, her Eco Angel Sisters and supporters. I have so much respect and we all wish her a fast recovery. She truly is an amazing queen together with the 82 other delegates this year.”
In her latest instagram post, Avila compared herself to a phoenix rising after this dark episode.