Coronavirus symptoms: Professor reveals

Coronavirus lockdown measures are expected to be revised in the Prime Minister’s daily press briefing this evening. Hopes of sweeping changes to the current measure have been dashed by government officials. The government has made it clear that hastily lifting the lockdown could undo all the progress made by triggering a second wave of infections. 


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Many people will be steeling themselves for a disappointed announcement later today but horrifying accounts of COVID-19 are a chilling reminder of why we must not give up the fight. 

One nightmarish account of COVID-19 has been shared by Paul Garner, a professor of infectious diseases at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

Paul Garner gave a vivid account of his deterioration over the course of seven weeks. 

In a blog written for The BMJ medical journal, he said: “For almost seven weeks I have been through a roller coaster of ill health, extreme emotions, and utter exhaustion.”

He continued: “Although not hospitalised, it has been frightening and long. The illness ebbs and flows, but never goes away.

“People who have a more protracted illness need help to understand and cope with the constantly shifting, bizarre symptoms, and their unpredictable course.” 

What did Prof Garner experience?

Writing in the journal, he said: “In the first days at home I wasn’t sure I had COVID-19. The heaviness and malaise became worse, I had a tightness in the chest, and realised it could be nothing else.

“I was mortified that I might have infected the staff I had worked with for over 20 years. I imagined their vulnerable relatives dying and never forgiving myself. My mind was a mess. My condition deteriorated. “

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As the disease dug its claws in, the professor said at one point he felt so unwell he thought he was dying.

He said: “There was nothing to do. I thought, if this is it so be it.”

All told, he experienced a host of unusual symptoms.

These included:

  • A muggy head
  • Upset stomach
  • Tinnitus
  • Pins and needles
  • Aching all over
  • Breathlessness
  • Dizziness
  • Arthritis in the hands.


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Now that he is over the worst of it, Prof Garner was keen to communicate the scope and severity of symptoms. 

“For some people the illness goes on for a few weeks. Symptoms come and go, are strange and frightening,” he said.

Prof Garner added: “The exhaustion is severe, real, and part of the illness. And we all need support and love from the community around us.” 

What should I do if I spot symptoms?

According to the NHS, to protect others, you must stay at home if you or someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).

This social distancing measure is called self-isolation.

How long to self-isolate

If you have symptoms of coronavirus, self-isolate for seven days, advises the NHS.

After seven days:

  • If you do not have a high temperature, you can stop self-isolatingIf you still have a high temperature, keep self-isolating until your temperature returns to normal
  • You do not need to keep self-isolating if you just have a cough after seven days. 

The NHS explains: “A cough can last for weeks after the infection has gone.”

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