Michael Rosen: he may have permanent hearing loss in his left ear because of Covid-19 but you go on saying it’s just the ‘flu if it helps you sleep at night. Or until it happens to you.
You know the story. You’ve probably heard it from somebody you know.
It’s the one that says Covid-19 doesn’t exist; that it’s just the ‘flu. “I mean no more people have died of it than die of ‘flu, right?”
We’ll skim over the fact that it isn’t over yet, and that it hasn’t taken as many lives as it would have without lockdown, social distancing and all the other restrictions that – albeit belatedly – have been imposed to improve our life expectancies.
These people tend never to have met anybody who has actually had Covid-19.
So here’s BBC correspondent Lucy Adams, who contracted the virus way back in March:
My limbs and head ached, my throat burned and my head was foggy… I could … walk the kids round the block to get them some fresh air but then I would sleep all afternoon.
After seven days my temperature went up from a fever of 37.7C (100F) to a burning hot 39.4C (103F) and stayed there for 10 days. The pain in my back was agony.
The illness lingered. I couldn’t sleep. I felt nauseous and had horrific abdominal pain. I sweated and shivered all the time. I couldn’t stand up but lying down was painful.
My daughter and I both got a full body rash and lost our sense of taste and smell.
Then came the breathlessness. First from walking up the stairs. Then just lying in bed, it felt impossible to fill my lungs.
Here’s the thing: it didn’t go away.
By the time I had been sick for seven weeks I remember telling my brother I felt ashamed for being off work for so long.
The NHS suggested Covid would last about two weeks yet I was still getting fevers and palpitations and so many other symptoms after two months.
And now – seven months later?
On good days I can go for a slow walk – pausing to sit on pavements and fallen trees to catch my breath. I can hold a conversation and pass myself off as fairly normal. On bad days it feels impossible to move from bed. The mattress feels like a ship rolling in a rough sea, my hands shake, my vision blurs, I struggle for breath, my body shivers and vibrates, and every sound cuts through my head like shattered glass.
I can still do things but every action has repercussions. If I empty the whole dishwasher at once I might get a migraine so I do one layer at a time. If I go for a walk, I have to go straight to bed afterwards. If I walk too far I might end up with a fever. Vertigo, brain fog, tremors and heart palpitations come and go as they please. And there’s the constant sinking fatigue – plus a gnawing anxiety because I don’t know when I will get better.
And no-one seems to know what is happening in my body.
Those are the words of a woman with so-called “Long Covid”. Does it read like ‘flu to you?
Alternatively, let’s consider somebody who had the short version of Covid-19. He nearly died – but of course that happens to people with ‘flu, too.
Here’s Michael Rosen – the ex-Children’s Laureate. He tweeted about his own experience after Spencer Morgan (whoever he is) suggested Covid was no worse than ‘flu:
A couple of days ago, he reported a new development:
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to risk microbleeds in my brain that damage any of my senses.
I don’t want blood clots in my lungs. I don’t want to lose my sight, hearing, or the feeling in my toes.
I certainly don’t want vertigo, brain fog, tremors and heart palpitations that come and go as they please, and as a long-term sufferer of cluster headaches (now acknowledged by the NHS as the condition that causes the most excruciating pain a person can have) I absolutely do not want any more migraines.
So, hey, let’s all… I don’t know… give Covid-19 the benefit of the doubt, eh? And let’s do everything we can to make sure we can’t get it, and nobody near us spreads it to other people we know. I know it will be hard with the schools still open.
Let’s put on the masks; let’s keep our respective distances from people nearby. Let’s remember that it isn’t forever; it’s just for a little longer.
Shall we give it a go?
Source: BBC correspondent: ‘Long Covid has left me exhausted for seven months’ – BBC News
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