A 'fit and healthy' 25 year old Covid-19 patient is urging young people to take coronavirus seriously

by Elsa Maishman

A "fit and healthy" 25 year old man has warned the public to stay inside after contracting coronavirus.

Calum Wishart, 25, is in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (ERI) after suffering the "most horrendous week of his life", with symptoms including fever, coughing fits, vomiting and diarrhoea. He now wants to warn people to stay inside to avoid the spread of the virus.

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Calum has issued a plea to young people, in particular, to take the threat seriously and not believe the virus will only affect the elderly or vulnerable, or that it will be similar to a cold or vomiting bug.

“Everyone needs to do their part and start taking this seriously. I don’t care how boring you think self isolation is, I can guarantee it’s a million times better than this,” he wrote in a public Facebook post.

'Things took a sudden, bad turn'

Calum, who lives in Paisley, had been self-isolating in Edinburgh after he developed symptoms on a visit to see his parents before the lockdown.

He was admitted to the ERI in the early hours of Saturday morning (28 Mar) after taking a sudden turn for the worse.

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Older sister Rachel, 27, was "shocked" to hear he had been admitted to hospital.

“Calum plays sport, he’s healthy, he’s got a good diet. He’s the last person in our family I thought would get the virus,” she told the Edinburgh Evening News.

“I can’t think about what would have happened if he had been in that flat alone, I honestly think he would have died, it took a really bad turn so suddenly.”

'Nothing is more important than avoiding this illness'

Calum is still struggling in hospital, although his family is relieved that his symptoms have not got any worse. He is too weak to be able to talk, and keeps in touch via WhatsApp messenger.

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“Calum is quite a joker, he’s normally quite flippant about things, but I can tell that he’s scared,” said Rachel.

“He just wants to put the message out that no one is safe from this. There are still a lot of people not taking this seriously and not taking advice.

In his Facebook post Calum urged people not to go outside for non-essential purposes.

“The reason I’m posting this is that I’m still seeing people go out for non-essential reasons and people going to non essential work.

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“No business or reason for going out other than food or for medical reasons is more important than [avoiding] this experience," he wrote.

'Sleep is the only escape from the horror of the symptoms'

Calum echoed his sisters conclusion that the paramedics saved his life.

“I don’t think I would have survived without the oxygen that the hospital have been able to give me,” he said.

He described some of the symptoms he has been suffering with in order to encourage people to take the issue seriously.

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“The coughing is so aggressive that it gives me massive pain all over my chest and a lot of the times induces the vomiting and diarrhoea, sometimes all three at once,” he said.

He added, “Sleep is pretty much impossible as well which is excruciating because that is literally the only escape from the horror of the symptoms.”

Calum praised staff at the ERI, who have been "absolutely unbelievable in their love and care", he said.

“They have been incredible, they could not have taken better care of him,” added Rachel.

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“But they need to be supported and protected by the public. Calum can see what’s going on at the hospital, and if this keeps going there aren’t going to be enough staff or enough ventilators.

“Young people think they’re invincible, they think that it’ll just be a cold or a 24-hour bug. People need to listen, they need to take this seriously.”

This article originally appeared on our sister site, Edinburgh Evening News