I know from personal experience how dangerous this virus is.
I was a fit and healthy man in my thirties, working and enjoying my life with my wife and my daughter. I caught COVID-19 and within five days of experiencing my first symptoms I was admitted to hospital, where I spent 68 days in intensive care, most of that time on a ventilator, in an induced coma.
I was told by my doctor that I would be in the induced coma for a few days, but I actually woke up two months later. The impact of that is very frightening and it will have long-lasting effects.
This disease does not care that you are young, fit and healthy. It does not care that you have a family who love you and who are waiting for you to come home. Anyone can catch it, and anyone can become very sick.
I am very grateful to be alive, and I would like people to realise the effect that COVID-19 can easily have on you.
Being in an induced coma on a ventilator means that you are unconscious and a machine has to breathe for you. I had multi-organ failure, and my family had to cope with me being unable to respond to them, unable to hear them, surrounded by machinery and tubes in a hospital bed.
My wife says this was a living hell for her. She thought I was going to die, and the hospital had to ring her twice to tell her that I might not live.
I eventually began to recover, thanks to the staff in Beaumont Hospital and the family and friends who prayed for me, and I was able to go home.
Even now, my life and my health have changed. I lost 3 and a half stone in weight. I have diabetes, shortness of breath and hypertension. I did not have these conditions before. Now, I need an inhaler and I am short of breath going up or down the stairs.
I don’t know what the longer term effects are going to be.
I am asking now for everyone to be careful. Take this virus very seriously.