What it’s REALLY like to catch coronavirus: First British victim, 25, describes how ‘worst disease he ever had’ left him sweating, shivering, and struggling to breathe as his eyes burned and bones ached

Connor Reed, a 25-year-old expat from Llandudno in North Wales, has worked in a school in Wuhan, China, for almost a year. In November he became the first British man to catch the coronavirus. From coughs and aches to burning up and spending the night in hospital, here’s how he beat the illness that is sweeping the globe.

Day 1 — Monday November 25: I have a cold. I’m sneezing and my eyes are a bit bleary. It isn’t bad enough to keep me off work. I arrived in this country to teach English as a foreign language — but now I’m a manager at a school in Wuhan, the city in central China where I have lived for the past seven months.

I speak Mandarin well, and the job is interesting. My cold shouldn’t be very contagious, so I have no qualms about going to work. And I live alone, so I’m not likely to give it to anyone. There hasn’t been anything in the news here about viruses. I have no cause for concern. It’s just a sniffle.

Pictures: Coronavirus outbreak

Day 2: I have a sore throat. Remembering what my mum used to do when I was a child, I mix myself a mug of honey in hot water. It does the trick.
Day 3: I don’t smoke and I hardly ever drink. But it’s important to me to get over this cold quickly, so that I can stay healthy for work. For medicinal purposes only, I put a splash of whisky in my honey drink. I think it’s called a ‘hot toddy’.
Day 4: I slept like a baby last night. Chinese whisky is evidently a cure for all known ailments. I have another hot toddy in the evening.
Day 5: I’m over my cold. It really wasn’t anything.
Day 7: I spoke too soon. I feel dreadful. This is no longer just a cold. I ache all over, my head is thumping, my eyes are burning, my throat is constricted. The cold has travelled down to my chest and I have a hacking cough.
This is flu, and it’s going to take more than a mug of hot honey, with or without the magic whisky ingredient, to make me feel better.

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