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Doctors Stress Importance Of Learning Hands-Only CPR Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- As more Americans wear masks and deal with possible after-effects from the coronavirus, there's a more urgent need to learn hands-only CPR.

Annie Harris is 22 and graduated from college this year. That's where she thinks she contracted COVID-19 back in March.

Luckily, she was able to recover at home with bed rest, but months later, her chest started hurting.

"I like to explain it as just a five-pound weight constantly just resting on my chest," Harris told CBS2's Cindy Hsu. "It was never a sharp pain, it was more of a dull pain."

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She had no idea that COVID could impact the heart.

"I was really terrified when I was experiencing these cardiac symptoms, even though it was not extreme and I knew I was young and healthy. I just never thought I'd be a 22-year-old girl with some sort of cardiac complication," Harris said.

She went to cardiologist Dr. Holly Andersen, with Ronald Perelman Heart Institute, and learned due to COVID, she now had an elevated heart rate.

"The virus itself can cause heart damage and can cause sudden cardiac arrest, which is why we're urging people more than ever to know how to save a life," Andersen said.

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Dr. Andersen wants everyone to learn hands-only CPR.

A video teaches you how to do it in under a minute.

Hands Only CPR (30 secs) by NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital on YouTube

Step one, check if the victim is breathing by tapping on their shoulders.

Step two, call 911 immediately.

Step three, compress.

If you're concerned about getting COVID through hands-only CPR, Andersen says put a face covering over the victim's mouth and face.

Annie Harris' mother, Susan Harris, is also huge advocate for learning hands-only CPR, even making a TikTok video about it.

"Not only to save my daughter's life, but I could be in a grocery store ... I could be anywhere and now I know how to do it," she said.

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