Sunday, February 21, 2021

Qatar Coronavirus Updates (and an update about me too)

 My quarantine ended about five days ago and I was free! I did not come down with any other severe symptoms so after a rough first week things generally got better. Though I wound up with a mild-ish case COVID is no joke and it was not something I would like to repeat.

So far five of my friends have also come down with COVID and four of them had mild symptoms and recovered. One of my friends though, who is in his mid-30s, has had a much rougher time of it. Harsher symptoms, lasting much longer, lung issues, you name it.  He's on Day 16 from when symptoms started and he has been admitted to hospital twice now. He told me that things are improving and he hopes to be released from hospital in three days, he has a lung infection that they are treating but all of his other COVID symptoms are gone now. It was quite worrisome how bad he got this, and there is no reason why it couldn't have been me, or anyone for that matter. That is what is so scary about COVID, if you get it you have no idea what will happen and there is little that doctors can do except help you treat the symptoms while you fight off the virus.

Government rules for vaccination are that if you came down with COVID you have to wait 90 days before you can receive the vaccine. That means I won't get the vaccine until May. Yes I have some level of immunity in the meantime but I will not be able to travel without having to quarantine when I return. Once vaccinated I should be able to enter Qatar without quarantine. Meanwhile the age to register for the vaccine has been lowered to people 50 and older so the vaccine is slowly but surely being distributed in the country. I do not know how many people have been vaccinated now, I assume around 5% of the population, but things are progressing well. The country is still under some restrictions that were imposed a couple of weeks ago, those will likely remain for at least another month. Qatar is still at 400+ new cases a day but it has levelled off at that amount. Not great, better than the rest of the GCC but not great. 

I am hopeful that within a month enough people in Qatar will have been vaccinated that the case rates will drop significantly, and that by two months it will be back below 100 cases a day again.

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

I Have Tested Positive for COVID-19

So at the end of my previous post I said:

"So I think I will need to be more careful for the next while and hope this all passes."

If you look at the previous post there is a picture of a TV with the Government press conference, but there are other people in the room. That's because I was at a friend's place to hang out and watch the Thursday press conference. There were, I think, six of us there.

And unbeknownst to us one of them had COVID.

He felt fine and had no idea that he was ill, basically asymptomatic. But the next day (Friday) he started feeling unwell so went to get tested. On Saturday morning I received the call -- he had tested positive. I immediately locked down in the apartment, now I was going to have to self-quarantine for two weeks. Everyone was calling each other with updates and some had gone to the hospital to get tested. A friend of mine in the medical field told me not to get tested yet as it had only been 36 hours, not enough time for the virus to build up enough for me to register a positive test, if I tested now it would likely be negative. Better to wait a couple of days first then get tested.

It didn't take long, by Sunday evening the fever started. I got tested on Monday and had the results Tuesday.

It has now been about 12 days since the encounter and nine days since the first symptoms began. The first few days were the roughest: constant mild fever and loss of appetite. Panadol would sometimes help the fever but sometimes didn't. After that it seemed like one symptom would fade and another would appear. After the fever and loss of appetite came the muscle aches, then after a couple of days that went away and I got a stuffed up nose, then after that a bout of fatigue, then the occasional mild dry cough, it has been really weird. It does play on your mind, you're hopeful as a symptom fades that'll be the last of it but then something else happens and then I'm left wondering if something more severe is on its way.

Thankfully I never needed hospitalization and never had shortness of breath or a rough cough. The clinic did a chest X-ray when I went to get tested and they said it was fine. Given I haven't had any lung issues yet I am hopeful the virus never really got into my lungs.

Because I started getting symptoms after three days there was speculation that maybe I picked it up somewhere else. None of the other guys who were there that Thursday night came down with it, or so we thought. Yes, my symptoms showed up right away (three days, typically it's something like 5-8 days but 2-10 days is possible), unfortunately for the others it was later. So far two others have now tested positive, and one of them started getting sick eight days later. Now hoping their families didn't catch it. Thankfully no one has been hospitalized yet. I thank my lucky stars I have been okay so far, once you get it it's really a spin of the roulette wheel how it will affect you. Hoping the worst is over.

Meanwhile the cases keep increasing, now Qatar has over 400 a day. New restrictions have been implemented. Weddings and events are cancelled, malls and restaurants have reduced capacity. 

Sadly, too late for my friends and I.