Personal encounter with COVID-19: day 5

Recovery continues, but the pace is still slow. My throat is still sore and my voice is quite rough (sorry, no meetings with my PhD students this week). The body aches are largely gone, but the levels of energy have been rather low. No fever.

Beautiful weather although with the cold wind so managed a short walk outside. Tried to do some work, but still rather limited in what I can do.

I have been checking with people with whom I was in contact last week, to see whether any further secondary infections occurred, but it looks like we managed to avoid further spread.

No point in doing any tests, as symptoms continue, but two other family members still testing positive.

Personal encounter with COVID-19: days 0-4

After 2 years of successfully avoiding COVID-19, I finally got it. Here is a personal diary of the events:

A bit of background

I have been vaccinated three times (December 2020, April 2021, January 2022), but I am also on immunosuppressing medical treatment. I usually use a high-quality mask (Airinum, KN95 certified).

DayS before day 0

I am not sure about the path by which I got infected. It could have been a primary infection as I went to England for a reunion at the weekend and there were little if any indications of COVID-19 precautions there, and a lot of evidence of cases around.

Or, it could have been a secondary infection, as other members of the family got the virus earlier that week.

Because I had visitors at work, I did LFD tests on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evening – all results were negative.

We have been trying to save on LFD tests (we still have some “free” ones, but they are no longer available), so I did not test on Thursday and Friday.

Day 0

On Saturday, while I was looking after three ill people at home and making preparations for Easter, I started feeling unwell. Sore throat, stomach upset and increasing pain in joints all pointed to COVID.

Still, I did some last-minute shopping in the morning (I know, I should have been more careful – but I was masked all the time).

And, an LFD test on Saturday evening was very clearly positive.

Day 1 (Sunday)

I was still not feeling very bad and others in the family were worse, so I did not go to bed that day. The symptoms got worse throughout the day and included headache and a very sore throat (particularly in the morning), running nose, body aches and fever – very much like a bad flu case.

Treatment: In addition to “usual” multivitamins (including 300% daily recommended dose of D3) and Q10 and Omega 3 supplements, an increased dose of Vitamin C (2000mg daily). Inhalators: both reliever and preventer.

Day 2 (Monday)

I could not stay out of bed anymore. The running nose got worse and I was feeling very weak. My joints ached and my skin was “prickly”. The SPO2 was lower than usual, but still OK (>95%) but my airflow rate dropped to a “yellow” status (I check it regularly for my asthma).

Fever up to 38C. Noticed that my hearing got worse, as I could not hear the thermometer beeps anymore. Hope this is Covid-related and temporary.

Treatment: As above. Trying to keep warm and drink a lot.

Day 3 (Tuesday)

Still having flu-like syndromes, very sore throat, cough, head, joint and skin aches. Running nose got a bit better. Feeling really weak and so staying in bed most of the day.

There is a saying that you are having the “real” flu if you would not go out of bed to pick up a £50 note. I am not sure whether measuring the severity of flu in GBP is very scientific, but mine was probably at around £30 (i.e. pretty bad, but could have been worse).

SPO2 and airflow as above; fever between 37.4 and 37.8C.

Treatment: As above.

Day 4 (Wednesday)

Got up with a very sore throat, but overall felt much stronger. Less cough and pain in joints. Instead of staying in bed, caught up on e-mails and did a bit of work. But my voice is still very rough.

Fever back to normal 26.7C. SPO2 now around 99-100% and airflow slightly up.

Treatment: As above. And I really should have rested more today.

Hopefully to be continued, taking one day at a time…

Why data are important…

Elephant in the room – for additional meaning, see my previous blog post.

I have written about the importance of data on this blog. With the UK government choosing to stop most testing and surveillance for COVID-19, we are left with picking up other data streams.

Deaths, both identified as with/from COVID-19, or excess, are a very important data stream to understand the severity of the pandemic outbreak. Since a large portion of the UK population is now vaccinated, there is a much lower probability of dying of COVID-19 than back in 2020.

Still, the deaths data stream contains important information on how many people are currently infected. Or rather were infected a month ago or so, as it takes quite a long time from catching COVID-19 to becoming seriously ill to die.

There have been some serious problems with this data stream in the last few weeks and 2,714 deaths have been added to the reports from February.

Does this matter? Yes, it does on three counts.

Firstly, it makes the current outbreak so much more significant. In the graph above, compare the current number of deaths (just above 100 per day) with the situation in the second half of 2021.

According to the “old” data we were about at levels similar to October 2021 and well within the range from July 2021 until the Delta/Omicron onslaught in Winter 2021/22.

Also, the recent increase would have been moderately fast (see how fast the death numbers increase at the end of the dark purple line).

The “new” data change this picture quite dramatically. Firstly, the deaths are now nearing 200 a day, a massive increase by at least a third.

This means that even during the period of low deaths back in March – when we were “celebrating” the end of pandemics – the level of deaths was very high.

It was almost as high (between 100 and 140) as at the worst periods in September 2021 (100-125) and in November 2021 (130-155). Then we seemed to care, now we just seem to shrug our shoulders and pretend the pandemic is finished.

I tried to align the pandemic waves of 2020, 2021 and 2022. It is quite interesting how each of the big waves – particularly in Scotland, but to a large extent in England – followed a similar pattern.

Except that the two “big waves” – April 2020 and December 2020 – resulted in a continuing drop of deaths – a result of lockdowns.

In contrast, the two “small” waves – August/September 2021 and January 2022 – are followed by further waves, with similar – if not higher – levels of deaths.

Finally, the current rate of deaths is unacceptably high – in England it exceeds the death levels in the whole period of early and middle 2021. In Scotland, there are currently more deaths per day than at any point since early 2021.

We might have called the pandemic to be ended, but the virus does not know and does not seem to care. And it is really “an elephant in the room”.