Aching bones, burning eyes and lungs like a torn paper bag: Victim explains coronavirus pain

When I breathe out, my lungs sound like a paper bag being crumpled up -- this is how a coronavirus victim felt on the 12th day of infection.

  • Updated

How painful is coronavirus infection? What aches and torments would afflict your body? A 25-year-old British man, who happened to be one of the earliest to be stricken with the deadly Covid-19 in China's Wuhan, has spoken up, detailing the painful experience that lasted a month.

The young man, who worked as a teacher at a Wuhan school, gave a blow by blow account of the virus attack and the miraculous recovery to the Daily Mail. If you thought coronavirus kills just 3.4 percent of the people it affects and others have an easy road to recovery and good health, you are probably wrong.

Here's how the man, Connor Reed, recounts his experience

The phrases below are a compilation from his interview with the Mail, not a sequential and verbatim reproduction.

  • This is no longer just a cold.
  • I ache all over, my head is thumping, my eyes are burning .. Even my bones are aching
  • Even getting out of bed hurts ... (I'm) trying not to cough too much because it is painful.
  • Flu has come back with a vengeance on the 12th day.
  • My breathing is laboured. Just getting up ... leaves me panting and exhausted.
  • I'm sweating, burning up, dizzy and shivering
  • When you breathe the lungs sound like a paper bag being crumpled up.
Coronavirus status as of 4 March, 2020
Coronavirus status as of 4 March, 2020 GISAID

On 9th day the kitten in the apartment dies

Reed got the virus before China and the rest of the world knew it was the deadly coronavirus. The young man, who lived alone in his apartment in Wuhan, initially thought it was a seasonal cold. But, as the dairy, he kept shows, by the 7th day the symptoms worsened and he was nearly bedridden.

"I feel dreadful. This is no longer just a cold. I ache all over, my head is thumping, my eyes are burning, my throat is constricted. The cold has travelled down to my chest and I have a hacking cough," his notes from the 7th day say.

On the 9th day he notices that the kitten in the apartment was drooping off and refusing food. He noticed that his own appetite had died a week ago. On Day 11, the kitten dies. "I don't know whether it had what I've got, or whether cats can even get human flu. I feel miserable," he says.

"I can't take more than sips of air and, when I breathe out, my lungs sound like a paper bag being crumpled up," he writes on the 12th day.

Coronavirus South Korea
Workers in protective gear spray disinfectant in a market in Daegu, South Korea. Im Hwa-young / Yonhap

Feels like 'run over by a steamroller'

Finally, he makes up his mind and manages to travel in a taxi to the Zhongnan University Hospital where he would see a British doctor. Reed comes back home after having been assured by the doctor that his ailment was a bout of pneumonia. He would not take the antibiotics prescribed by the doctor as he fears that he would develop resistance against the drug.

By day 16 he was well enough to stagger out of the door and get supplies, But the progress was slow and chequered. On Day 22 he felt like he had been "run over by a steamroller."

Connor Reed thinks he got the virus at Wuhan market

Finally, it was on Day 36 that he hears rumours about a mysterious virus taking a toll on Wuhan life. Confirming his fears, the hospital calls on him on Day 52, telling him that the ailment he was suffering from was the dreaded coronavirus.

Reed's footnote is that he thinks he caught the virus at Wuhan's fish market, which he thinks is a "great place to get food on a budget." He vouches that he never saw exotic meats such as bat and koala on sale at the fish market. He has seen, though, whole pig and lamp bodies with their heads on for sale, the Mail quotes.

Related topics : Coronavirus