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I still have Covid-19

Now in his tenth week with what is almost certainly coronavirus, Philip Fisher reflects on his experiences and how these might inform others.

27th May 2020
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Back in March, I described the symptoms of what appeared to be coronavirus. Over nine weeks on, while the symptoms are not as pronounced, I am still far from 100% and spent last weekend in bed feeling dreadful.

In the period since the original article, in addition to what has unfolded across the world, I've experienced much tedium and some drama.

Week two

Following a week in bed suffering from a feverish illness with the impact of mid-level flu, life became more bearable, as long as I exerted myself very little physically or mentally. Even half-hour walks or intensive business calls of similar duration could put me back in bed for a few days. At a basic level, various consultations with GPs have offered comfort, not to mention a course of antibiotics that probably helped to an extent.

NHS 111 is another matter. At one point, when I was trying to make contact with my GP, an app forwarded me to a questionnaire. I completed this absolutely honestly and received an instruction to head straight to hospital and get there within one hour. Instead, I managed to make a 7 am appointment with an online GP, who talked through the symptoms and agreed with my amateur diagnosis that the last thing I needed was a mad dash to A&E.

April and May

Over the last month or so, there have been continual ups and downs but the general trend has been positive. But perhaps I was too smug.

Last week I began to increase my work rate and got involved in a couple of more intensive projects. The almost instantaneous result was a sore throat, cough and a headache, all of which succumbed to paracetamol but left me in bed for three days feeling completely drained and, if not back to square one, back to about square three.

The general consensus from the medical profession is that, in the fullness of time, I will recover completely but the doctors’ understanding of this virus is only about two weeks ahead of my own, as I went down before it became widespread in the UK – so nobody knows.

Moral of the fable

What are the morals that can be drawn from my experience? First, while I still have no idea how I caught what we all assume to be Covid-19, there is every chance that it was down to supermarket or theatre trips or, possibly, some fellow traveller encountered on a packed tube train.

Astonishingly, trains were still crowded and shops packed when I fell ill, despite the fact that the Prime Minister was half-heartedly making ineffectual noises about down the country. This laissez-faire attitude may have contributed to his own coronavirus woes as well as mine.

It is even more galling to know that I followed the law, the rules and the guidelines to the letter, remaining locked away at home for the full quarantine period. Since mid-March, I have not been in a vehicle and, for the avoidance of doubt, have stayed well clear of Durham, Barnard Castle and Downing Street.

It could have been much worse. I am one of the lucky ones who is nowhere near 70 and was in good general health.

Falso assertions

Perhaps surprisingly, given the nature of the pandemic, there has never been an opportunity to register my suspected Covid-19 and, judging by those with whom I have been communicating, an awful lot more people in the UK have coronavirus than the numbers published by the powers that be.

That should come as no surprise given that the advice for those who have relatively mild symptoms is to take some headache tablets, self-isolate and rest until you feel better. No doctors, no National Health Service helpline and no available test to determine the nature or spread of the illness until last week.

What worries me is that the data being used to determine whether children should go back to school, or their parents to work in shops and offices, is apparently based on statistics for those who have died. Perhaps an equally important measure should be the damage to victims like me who have had their lives diminished, cannot work effectively and are struggling to cope.

The next few months will be critical. It seems likely but not certain that opening up the country to a degree may not lead to a massive increase in pandemic deaths. However, if large numbers of workers are forced to take to their beds for weeks, that could be the final nail for companies that were already on the brink of permanent closure.

It isn’t easy to find positives at the moment but at least the vast majority of accountants can work from home so they should be cocooned from the worst of the danger, should a second wave arise.

Replies (6)

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By Calculatorboy
28th May 2020 16:07

10 weeks ?
Go and see a doc. You have another issue

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Replying to Calculatorboy:
By sumo69
29th May 2020 10:10

Calculatorboy wrote:

10 weeks ?
Go and see a doc. You have another issue

Agreed - I had a 2.5 week illness including a day at hospital for tests, which showed I was in sufficiently ill to be admitted but had the virus. That was with fever (up to 39.9C), shortness of breath, aches, no food for 8 days, smell gone, insomnia, and issues in the bathroom!
It also took a couple of weeks to recover from fatigue after the symptoms diminished, but taste/smell are still not 100%.
If you are getting recurring sickness, it isn’t COVID especially when it’s showing as a sore throat which isn’t recognised as a symptom.
You need a full work over by your GP and you could also know by getting a test?

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By killer33
29th May 2020 10:19

I suspect your experience of a 'mild' dose of covid19 won't be that unusual for those of us not in the first flush of youth.

I came down with the flu ( presumably not covid19) just before Christmas and spent a week moving from the bed to the sofa feeling pretty ropey. It took me a couple of months to fully recover.

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Replying to killer33:
Hallerud at Easter
07th Jun 2020 21:32

It actually could have been given the odd report (France) that there were patients with it in December.

Both my son and then myself had something very similar in December/January, but until we eventually get an antibody test we just do not know.

The catch is that symtoms/impact/effect vary so much person to person, this may be down in part to the individual, the viral load, the strain of the virus (if there are more than one strain in circulation), it seems to be a very hard thing to fit into a neat box.

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By Justin Bryant
29th May 2020 16:49

What is also being underreported or underappreciated is the sheer scale of the economic hardship/damage caused by all this.

E.g. I think there will be a big hit to the property market later this year, as apart from low interest rates it's a perfect storm there. I read in yesterday's Evening Standard that landlords are already having to reduce rents by 10%-15% to avoid voids, and that was from a high end estate agent who's job is to talk up the market Micawberism style.

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By Brend201
01st Jun 2020 22:45

Dear Philip
Thank you for writing about this. I hope you make a full recovery very soon.

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