'It was like my brain short-circuited' - Juventus defender Rugani's girlfriend on terror of Covid-19 diagnosis while pregnant

Michela Persico, the girlfriend of Juventus defender Daniele Rugani, has opened up about the fear she felt after contracting the coronavirus while pregnant.

Rugani was one of the first high-profile footballers to test positive for Covid-19, with he and Persico developing mild symptoms in early March.

Both are now fully recovered and aware of the fact they were lucky to only have mild symptoms, but Persico says the unknown factors around the virus amplified her fear.

“I am fine now, but fortunately I only had mild symptoms: loss of smell and taste, a fever, fatigue. Compared to many others, Daniele and I were very fortunate,” Persico told Tuttosport. “The biggest issue was the fear about this pregnancy and being alone, seeing as Daniele was ill too and self-isolating, not to mention worry for my family.

“My parents in Bergamo told me they constantly heard ambulance sirens in the streets and nothing else. This was still the start of March.

“The day I found out Daniele had tested positive, I just assumed that I was too. It was like my brain short-circuited, thinking of all the ways this could affect the baby. This is such a new virus, we don’t know the effects and consequences for pregnancy, so it was terrifying for those first few days and I was calling everyone for advice.

“Fortunately, after being reassured by the doctors, I managed to keep my head. I created a daily routine for the lockdown, which in my case lasted for 35 days.

“I was particularly stunned by the support I received on social media, not just from Juventus fans. He too felt the affection that goes beyond just being part of a football team.”

Rugani said in mid-March that he and Persico weren’t suffering too badly from symptoms and reflected that his diagnosis might have helped raise awareness at a time when the rest of Europe hadn’t been as badly affected as Italy.

"I want to reassure everyone by saying that I am fine," he said. "I have always been quite well. I have not had the serious symptoms mentioned.

"I consider myself lucky even if it was a heavy blow also because I was the first in our environment [and] served to raise the awareness of all those who had not understood the seriousness of the problem."