As the nation moves through its second lockdown, and with the UK becoming the first country in Europe to pass 50,000 coronavirus deaths, Wokingham Borough Council has spoken to several residents who have sadly contracted Covid-19 this year, and who are still feeling the physical and mental effects to this day.
From what we understand of the virus, it’s clear that it impacts everyone very differently. What’s more, anyone, no matter how old or healthy they are, can catch it.
Across the Borough, it’s important that we continue to understand the severity of Covid-19 and work together to mitigate the risk of infection and spread in our communities.
“I haven’t been able to bounce back”
Firstly, we caught up with Sophia, who is 22 years old and lives in Shinfield. She had been studying in Leeds when the pandemic started but headed home just before the first national lockdown so she could be with her family.
“My mum worked on the frontline during the first wave of the pandemic and contracted Covid-19 while on shift. I was studying at the time but moved back home just before lockdown as I wasn’t sure I’d be able to cope with being alone and away from my family,” she told us.
“Unfortunately, I also started to feel unwell and caught the virus from my mum. I suffered with a poorly stomach, severe chest pain and fatigue. I am usually an active and healthy person, but I haven’t been able to bounce back as easily as I thought I would and I’m still struggling.”
“People need to understand how severe it is”
Sophia is new to the Borough, having moved here just a few months ago. Unfortunately, given how poorly she’s feeling after contracting Covid-19, she’s not been able to get involved in any sporting activities like she usually would to try and get to know people.
“The long-lasting effects of Covid-19 are impacting my life and have made me much more cautious about going out. I am new to the Wokingham area but have found it hard to make friends because I can’t join sports clubs to meet people, so I only really leave the house to buy food.
“People often brush it off like it’s just another illness, but they do need to understand how severe it is and how it can affect people both physically and mentally.”
“I didn’t think Covid-19 would impact me directly”
Another female resident aged 49, who lives in Wokingham town centre and asked not to be named, told us how she caught the virus after going out for dinner with her family.
She explained: “Covid-19 was something I read about in the news; not something I thought would ever impact me directly. But, after going out for dinner with my husband and three children one Friday night, myself and my family contracted the virus.
“Initially, I didn’t feel right and a couple of days later I lost my sense of taste. I also had a temperature, severe headache, and back-ache. So, I ordered and completed a home test, which came back as positive 72 hours later."
“Nothing takes away the symptoms”
At the time of speaking, she appeared to be suffering. She said: “Since then, my symptoms have been very bad, and I’ve also had heart palpitations which have been scary. The worst part is that nothing takes away the symptoms and I simply have to push through.
“My advice for others is to take social distancing seriously and understand that it can affect anyone. Two of my children who are in their twenties also tested positive and they’ve really suffered too.”
Struggling? Please ask for help
If you are struggling with the long-lasting impacts of Covid-19; whether that’s mental or physical, it’s important to speak to a health professional.
Help is also available via the One Front Door scheme, which is led by Citizens Advice Wokingham, who work closely with us and a number of other local voluntary organisations to help support residents during this challenging time.
For more information on Covid-19, visit the Gov.uk website, or the dedicated Covid-19 page on our website. You can also see all the latest statistics on cases via the Covid-19 Dashboard on the Berkshire Public Health website. Remember, we are in it together.