Covid-19 was detected in December 2019, so a bit over a year ago. It took a few more weeks for the info to seep through to us. I remember first reading about Covid around the 25th of January. My sister had send us a message recommending us to buy masks and protective googles. Her boyfriend has many colleagues in China and thus they tried to find as many masks as possible in Copenhagen to ship to China (back to their country of production).
She was to be right.
By the time the virus started to spread in France masks were so rare that the government pleaded for people to give their surgical masks to health professionals. If you didn’t sew your own masks, you’d have no masks.
When I look back at our WhatsApp conversations (we have like so many other families a huge family WhatsApp group), the disbelief we were in, because China had to lock up cities jumps to the eye. We did not have to wait too long to be locked-up ourselves. And a year later, we are navigating in a changed world where lockdowns are the new normal.
But let’s get to my question. Did I have COVID?
End of January till about mid-February my partner had bronchitis coupled with sinusitis. Even though things got better quickly with antibiotics (as he did go see our doctor), he got sick as soon as the cure was over. For months (until now actually) he had to cough a lot, and it took him weeks to get back into shape for running, his breathing would not play along and he has been more tired than usual. And he also lost his sense of taste and smell for a while. As he worked in a place were many people from China, including from Wuhan passed through daily up to mid-February, it won’t be much of a surprise if he did have covid a year ago.
I suddenly started having the strangest of colds, I could breathe properly through my nose but ever 30 to 45 minutes I was suddenly overly congested that I filled tissue upon tissue. In the very last days of February everything lost its taste, as I lost both my sense of smell and my sens of taste. I can pinpoint the date to a certain degree, as I was sadly in a different region for a few days to addend a funeral, when my sens of smell disappeared and everything that I ate tasted the same. My taste and smell returned when we had already been in confinement for about a week.
It wasn’t until April that I found out that loosing smell and taste were typical symptoms for covid. In the early months of the pandemic, those symptoms were not known to be symptoms.
There is a good probability that I had covid. That I travelled in an airplane while having covid. That I took the metro in Paris, that I thought many one-on-one lessons while being contagious. I cannot know for sure. I just know one thing: I was definitely not alone with symptoms that weren’t known to be symptoms. One of my students (in a class attended by 9 people) showed up to a course in March coughing her lungs out, with a fever. When I asked her if she had seen a doctor, she said she had called sos-médecins (a medical hotline) only to be told that she didn’t have covid and that it was the flu and that she should go to work (you should not go to work when you have the flu).
For the months to come, until October I struggled with regular bouts of earaches that lasted for 2-3 days each at intervals of 4 to 6 weeks. When my dad had covid in October, I finally decided to get the anti-body test done. The pharmacist did want to dissuade me, as he saw no point, as he told me that the detectable level of antibodies fades very quickly. But you want to have certainty, I wanted an explanation for my hurting ears. Well, the test came back negative.
Thus I cannot know for sure, if I did have covid or not. One of my students (a medical doctor) had a positive anti-body test in May, but she has no clue when she had covid.
With the number so super high at the moment, and the whole of Europe locking down again (France is currently fairly open, except for a curfew from 6pm to 6am), I am sure that there are so many people who unknowingly have covid, as they have no symptoms (or only have obscure symptoms that have not yet been catalogued).
The sad truth is that if we want to get rid of Covid, we’ll have to take a break from what normality we still have left. So many cases for this virus are flying under the radar.
Please stay safe and healthy! Get vaccinated if you can! Wear a mask! Stay socially distant! Talk to family and friends on the phone/zoom/WhatsApp/skype/Facteime, send them messages and letters. Draw, paint, sind, dance, take pictures, write, be creative, be active, read, watch a good film … And remember, you are loved and you are precious!