An intensive care doctor is warning people of the frightening effects of "long-term COVID" ahead of lockdown lifting – as he is still suffering symptoms three months on.
Dr Jake Suett, 31, was helping Britain tackle coronavirus for only a week before he developed symptoms on 20 March.
The ICU doctor, who works for the NHS in Norfolk, had no underlying health conditions and went to the gym four or five times a week.
But what first appeared to be tiredness and a sore throat soon turned into a fever, dry cough and shortness of breath.
Twelve weeks on, he is still suffering chest pain, breathlessness, blurred vision, memory loss, a high temperature, concentration problems – and is unable to work.
He told Sky News: "I still get out of breath doing the washing up or walking around the house.
"I spent three days just gasping for breath in bed, I really thought I was going to die, it was very distressing.
"Things have improved since then, but not much and only very, very slowly. I've had gastrointestinal symptoms and shooting pains in my hands and feet too."
Public Health England figures show that 19 out of 20 COVID-19 patients recover without needing hospital treatment.
But Dr Suett is part of a Facebook group with at least 5,000 people from across the country who are suffering from what they refer to as "long COVID" – with symptoms lasting as long as 14 weeks.
With no government data available on recovery rates, Dr Suett wants scientists to investigate why thousands are being hit so badly by the virus and whether there is a separate "post-COVID syndrome".
The 31-year-old also claims that with tests so sparsely available at the peak of the pandemic, many who appear to have caught it at the beginning have no proof – but are still experiencing the debilitating effects.
He said: "There are thousands of people who have just been left to suffer frightening symptoms for months.
"I got tested after four weeks because I work for the NHS. It came back negative, but I've still never been so short of breath in my life. I kept thinking, this is not normal, this is not okay, someone needs to be following this."
With pubs, restaurants and hairdressers reopening on 4 July, he added: "I can understand people are excited about lockdown easing, but I wish more people knew about us.
"We can't just bury our heads in the sand. We have a group of people saying this is happening and we don't want to increase the size of that group if we can help it."
Professor of immunology at Imperial College London, Danny Altmann, echoed Dr Suett's calls for a scientific study into the potential long-term effects of the disease.
He told Sky News: "There are people out there who are worried and want to know more about this.
"It needs to be firmly on the medical agenda, because we are going to have COVID follow-up clinics for years to come.
"That's going to have a huge impact on NHS manpower and on patients' lives as well."Read More – Source