Harrowing warning from young patient

A 28-year-old Irish man with coronavirus says the infection has been "an ordeal that I will never forget".

He also issued a stern warning to young people who have been ignoring social distancing guidelines and going to parties, parks and the beach.

"It brought about a lot of existential questions of my own life," Michael Prendergast told Sky News from his hospital bed in County Kerry, Ireland.

"Being trapped in this isolated room, and being so sick and so weak, I couldn't even raise my head.

"And I thought, if my life ends now, have I been a good person? And have I done enough in my life? There's still so much I want to achieve."

Mr Prendergast began showing symptoms of COVID-19 shortly after returning home to Ireland from London last week, the Irish Times reports.

He is asthmatic but has not had an attack or episode in years.

"It will come in waves. I could feel poorly but then I would get a wave that would last four or five hours that would be the most intense, overwhelming feeling," he said.

He described it starting off as "an extremely mild headache" before escalating to shortness of breath, a high fever and "extreme rigors".

"I was shaking and by Wednesday night, I was having convulsions in bed," Mr Prendergast said on Ireland's Newstalk Breakfast.

The young man said he was sporty and into the gym.

"I would've never imagined I would have been so sick," he said in his video to Sky News, shared on Twitter.

"Having contracted the virus and having more of the severe symptoms - pneumonia being the more deadly of them all, it has been harrowing. It's indescribable. This is just a warning to anyone out there."

Michael Prendergast, 28. Picture: Twitter/@SMurphyTV
Michael Prendergast, 28. Picture: Twitter/@SMurphyTV

He said it was "disheartening" to see people out and about at beaches, parties, public places, parks and gyms.

"If you don't get affected, as bad as I have, I guarantee that your parents, or your aunts and uncles, or you grandparents are going to be," he said.

"And this virus is a killer, so I just hope that I can raise some awareness and just try and help.""

Mr Prendergast also issued a plea to the Irish Government to be proactive, rather than reactive, and tighten the restrictions further.

"The people won't realise until they get it or family members of theirs have this virus. Only then are they going to realise the truly destructive force of this virus," he said.

 

When asked about their approach, the Taoiseach, or prime minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, said: "I think we are being proactive.

"Any decisions that we make on further restrictions, around social distancing and what happens in public places, should be rooted in the advice of the chief medical officer and those public health doctors," he said.

"Not what's trending on Twitter, not what politicians may be calling for."

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan on Monday night (local time) said there were 1125 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the Republic of Ireland. Six people have died.

Originally published as Harrowing warning from young patient