An emergency room physician at UCSF tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Saturday, and he's now opening up about his symptoms, anxieties, and general state of mind on Medium.
Dr. Rosny Daniel offers both a short version and a long version of his story, the short version being that he had a few of the telltale symptoms, didn't go into work, feels OK at the moment, and does not think he became infected at work or spread it to anyone else because he had been wearing protective gear throughout the week before becoming sick — and he believes he caught it while at a conference out of town.
"Physically, I feel fine," Daniel writes. "Mild muscle soreness and headaches mostly. I haven’t had any more fevers since waking up a little sweaty Friday morning."
Much has been said about the onset of symptoms of the coronavirus, but Dr. Daniel's story provides just the first local example of a patient — who is himself a diagnostician — opening up about what the virus looks and feels like. What we know for now is that the median onset timeframe for symptoms is five days though it can be much quicker or longer than that; the virus typically comes with a low- or high-grade fever that may have a short duration; the virus also typically gives one a dry, persistent cough which is the biggest difference between this and the seasonal flu. See more details here and here.
UCSF Parnassus is one of multiple sites in San Francisco where tests for the virus are available if you are referred by a doctor. The hospital said Friday that it now has the capacity to test 60 to 80 people per day with a rapid test developed onsite.
"I started feeling very slightly sick on Thursday evening," Dr. Daniel writes. "My only symptoms were mild cough and that pre-sick feeling (kind of light headed and tired)." He then woke up Friday with a fever, and got himself tested. The test came back positive on Saturday.
Dr. Daniel is a patient with underlying health conditions that bring added risk — asthma and diabetes. He writes that he feels "anxious because I know that this disease can get a lot worse very fast," but he is isolating at home and is managing symptoms with Tylenol and Motrin.
"Hopefully, I improve quickly and don’t get more sick," he writes. "Hopefully, I am immune to COVID-19 afterward and I can come back to work and cover for the 10% of my peers who are likely to get sick in the future."
And his only advice: "Stay vigilant with hand washing and social distancing. Love yourselves, believe in humility, civility and humanity."
Photo via UCSF