Concerns are being raised that people isolating at home with worsening Covid-19 symptoms may not call for medical help early enough when they enter the second, more severe, phase of the virus, possibly reducing their chances of survival.
Here at the Waverley Web, we have first-hand experience of a GP who diagnosed a patient, over the telephone, with a urinary tract infections, which as it turns out, was the Coronavirus. The patient’s symptoms developed over the course of two weeks, during which he then went into the typical fever and shortness of breath stage. However, no test is/was available and due to his original diagnosis, he continued self-isolating, but with family members as they believed they were not at risk.
Here is another account from a Waverley resident: We are withholding her name.
The situation in the UK is disgraceful. Even with all the symptoms – severe cough, fever, difficulty breathing, extreme fatigue and feeling very ill – you phone 111 and spend 6 hours hanging on the line waiting, explaining over and over again your situation until someone eventually asks, ‘do you feel like you’re about to die?’ Then when you finally give up waiting for the call back and go to bed, someone rings after 1 am to tell you to drink plenty of fluids. It is quite obvious many people with Covid symptoms are on their own, left to hope for the best. And certainly with no prospect of a test.
The NHS does not have a proper monitoring system for those suspected of having coronavirus, said Dr Bharat Pankhania, a senior clinical lecturer at the University of Exeter medical school.
“If a patient is developing pneumonia, it can get progressively worse very quickly and hence early admission upon the first signs of difficulty with breathing are very important,” he said.
Covid-19 is said to be mild to moderate in 80% of people, but can cause viral pneumonia. In the most serious cases, the immune system fighting the virus overreacts. If that happens, what is known as a cytokine storm attacks their organs. The individual will need ventilation in hospital to take over their breathing and possibly mechanical support for their heart, liver or kidneys.
People with symptoms at home will not get medical help unless they ask for it, unlike in some other countries, which have testing for people with symptoms and monitoring for them while at home.