Rumours spread faster than a virus. If you want to publish something, tell it as a secret to someone. Since all the rumours are not true, I’d like to tell my story (even though many told me not to. This corona seems to be a bit of a tabu at the moment). I’d like to tell the story, because there is a lot of missunderstanding and fake believes around the virus.
Yes, I have been diagnosed with coronavirus on the 12th of March 2020. I got it either from Tyrol, Austria during the weekend or from Stockholm on Tuesday. I would guess Austria, since that seems to be a home for many infections found around Europe.
First of all, don’t worry about us, me and my family are doing perfectly fine. Even better than expected. We are basically symptom-free – at least at the moment.
This is how it all started.
On Thursday, 5th of March I travelled from Turku to Zürich (via Helsinki-Vantaa) and from there to St. Anton, Tyrol area Austria. Yes, Italy was already an epidemic area, but Tyrol had like 14 cases on the day I left there. At that time, Helsinki had much more cases. I considered it as a safe trip.
I took a bottle of hand sanitizer with me, used it a lot and washed my hands like never before.
In Austria, I didn’t see anybody coughing or sneezing around me.
I returned to Finland on Sunday evening and went back home and on Monday morning to our office. I had no symptoms what so ever.
On Monday evening I flew to Stockholm to our local office and again paid a lot of attention to hand hygiene. On Tuesday morning, instead of using the subway, we walked through the beautiful city with my colleague. It took us an hour and the city seemed to be full of pedestrians on their way to work. I flew back to Turku on Tuesday evening. Empty airport and empty planes.
On Monday evening I also learned that Tyrol was declared as an epidemic area. I was puzzled, since the amount of cases in Tyrol seemed stable. At some point I noticed news about a bar in Ischgl, where many cases were traced back. I was not concerned, since that was some 50 kilometres from our village.
After returning again to Finland, I decided together with our HR director and chairman of the board that I’ll go for the self-quarantine, since I was returning from an epidemic area. I did this, even though Tyrol was declared to be an epidemic area only after I left the area. So, on Wednesday I worked remotely and didn’t leave my house.
On Thursday the 12th of March I woke up feeling my self quite normal. I opened up my Oura app (the ring that monitors my sleep, breathing, body temperature etc) and got surprised how low my ”readiness” was. For all Oura users, my readiness was 54 as it normally is around 80-90 and the reason for this was my elevated body temperature. I had +1c compared to normal, so you could say that I ”almost had fever”.
I decided to call the local authorities anyway and tell about the mild temperature and about being in Tyrol area. I felt a bit shamed to do that, since I felt perfectly fine. They hesitated about testing, since I had no other symptoms, but decided to do the test anyway. I was tested in TYKS (Turku University Hospital) in the morning by a lady in a space suit. Really quick and pleasant experience, if you like 15 cm long cotton sticks stuffed in your nose… After the test I returned back home, where the rest of my family was also self-quarantined.
The results came in the late afternoon and the test was found positive. I was interviewed about my locations and travelling in Tyrol and after that. Official advise was that everyone I met 24 hours before the symptoms started are considered as ”close contacts.” In my case this means everybody I spent more time than 15 minutes at the same space during Wednesday the 11th of March. Luckily I was self quarantined during that day and my close contacts (people who are considered with higher risk of getting the virus) are only my wife and kids. And we all have been at home since yesterday morning.
Good news – and also bad news – is that for me, and many others that I know getting the infection, this seems to be really a mild version of the virus. Or at least it is for us, forty something year olds. In any other given date with such a mild temperature rise (and normal temperature again in the morning) and good feeling in general, I think 95% of the people would go to work and continue living as they always have been. Without the ring measuring my body during the night, I would not even had known about the temperature rise. I measured my temperature several times during the following day and it always came back with 36,5c. This makes this flu to spread – you might not even recognise it.
On Thursday and Friday I heard news from many others that I met on my trip also getting the (mild) symptoms and many were tested positive in their home countries. I checked the official stats in Finland: 110 cases. Only I knew 10% more cases to that number so I figured out that a true number have to be many times bigger.
I do not know how many others have returned from Italy or Austrian side of Tyrol during the last month with only very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all and are going around spreading the corona, but they must be hundreds.
I don’t feel proud to be the first person in my city being infected by this virus. I keep thinking what I could have done in order to avoid this. I followed the official travel instructions, used a lot of hand sanitizer, washed my hands like never before and avoided touching my face. It is easy to say afterwards that you should’ve just stayed at home and not travel at all. That is true, but on the other hand, predicting the future is possible only afterwards and that attitude would also make my job pretty hard to do (although in Austria I was for a vacation). I’m glad though that I self-quarantined myself and did not come to our Turku office on Wednesday. If I would’ve been there, the number of affected people would have been several times higher. Although making this decision on Wednesday felt a bit overreacting, it was the right one to do.
About my health
Like mentioned, I feel almost like normal (if I ever have been one). Last night I had +0,6c body temperature (measured by Oura) and these are the only symptoms I have. My wife and daughter had some very mild symptoms of sore throat and our boys have nothing. I hope it goes by like this. We are now quarantined for 14 days at least, but it’s a smallest thing we can do. I do not wan’t to go around and cause maybe huge health issues to people belonging to risk groups. But the problem with this virus is, that it gives so mild symptoms to so many. And many neglect even clear symptoms thinking that what ever they planned to do today is more important than life of an old lady next door. Or it’s more important than our health care system’s ability to treat the ones needing help.
My message is that do not panic, pay attention to social distance and hand hygiene but most of all: don’t be a self centered prick. If you have even the smallest symptoms, stay at home. Do not go out and meet people in risk categories. You don’t know by the age, face or any other thing who will get a bad version of this virus.
And for the closure, this virus does not blow up your ass, so there is no need to buy 100 toilet paper rolls for two week quarantine!
Let’s fight this one together!
Ps. I originally posted this in Facebook, but due to feedback, I decided to share it publicly on my blog.