Coronavirus isn’t a runny-nose-sniffle cured with a couple of days on the couch watching Ellen and eating chicken soup.
It’s a serious virus that can kill if the infection triggers the immune system into over-reacting.
According to Dr Sanjaya Senanyake, an infectious diseases specialist at the Australian National University, 80 per cent of patients with COVID-19 will have a “mild to moderate illness that lasts about two weeks.”
The World Health Organisation reports 15 per cent of coronavirus cases are severe and five per cent are critical.
“For COVID-19, the global fatality rate is over three per cent, although we think it’s probably closer to one per cent,” says Dr Senanyake.
Now, “fit and healthy” people diagnosed with the virus are sharing their horror stories and revealing their painful symptoms.
Tara Jane Langston, a 39-year-old London patient, posted a disturbing video of herself in intensive care, showing her coughing and struggling to breathe. In an interview with 60 Minutes, she said she wouldn’t wish the illness on her worst enemy. “Every breath feels like you have glass in your lungs. You literally think you’re going to die,” she revealed.
In America, 22-year-old Amy Shircel admits she also feared for her life while fighting the virus, saying it was the sickest she had been in her entire life. “By the 6th day of symptoms, I was so weak I couldn’t even walk. I crawled to the bathroom to vomit. I became so dehydrated I called 911, and they took me in an ambulance to the emergency room,” she wrote in a detailed thread on Twitter.
In another Twitter thread, British academic Shiraz Maher, 38, refuted claims coronavirus is just like the flu, saying, “It’s a nasty, horrible, illness.”
“The cough was much more extreme and pronounced than a dry cough you might have during a bout of the flu. It feels like there’s something deeply lodged within your lungs that they’re (violently) trying to eject. The resulting cough is dusty, dry and painful. Much more scary is that you’re unsure of when you’ll stop coughing. You have no control over it,” he wrote, noting that he has no underlying health conditions. “When you finally stop [coughing], it’s a relief – but now you’re in a new phase altogether. You’re fighting to draw air into your lungs but your chest is tight and, frankly, your lungs are in distress. Your head is also pounding because of the violent coughing. I suffered terrible headaches after these coughing fits. The evening of Wednesday 18th was the worst day for me. I fought for breath for about 3-4 hours. It was horrific.”
Two weeks after developing symptoms, Maher is still not feeling 100 per cent. “I’ve lost several days of my life to this illness. Many, many other people will lose their lives to it,” he warns.
Frighteningly, Maher’s case has been classified as “mild” by health authorities because he wasn’t hospitalised or put on a ventilator.
These candid accounts from patients show just how serious this virus is – even when the case is deemed “mild,” and even if you’re young and healthy.
COVID-19 doesn’t just affect older people. The median age of Australians diagnosed with the virus is 48.
This isn’t just a runny-nose-sniffle; it’s a painful, highly contagious and deadly illness.
As the number of confirmed cases in Australia hits more than 4,000 – including 18 deaths – we need to understand the severity and scope of COVID-19.
Listen to Amy Shircel: “You aren’t invincible just because you’re in your 20s. Take it from me, and quarantine like your life depends on it (it might).”
Stay at home.