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Man who thought 'he was going to die' warns of coronavirus severity

A 28-year-old man who was treated at Peterborough City Hospital was battling for his life after being tested for coronavirus. He is urging people to follow government advice and stay at home. 
Ryan Van Waterschoot being treated with oxygen masks for coronavirus . Photo: Ryan Van Waterschoot

Ryan Van Waterschoot, a healthy 28-year-old from Wisbech, has warned about the severity of the virus, saying, ‘he thought he was going to die’.  

Describing his symptoms and talking about what he felt, Ryan said: “On the Sunday I woke up feeling horrendous. I felt sick. I had no energy. I managed to drag myself to the shower but I couldn’t do anything else all day. It felt like my body had shut down overnight.” 

This episode started on March 6. He then began coughing constantly to the point of being sick. 

Ryan contacted the doctors on Monday morning who advised him to rest, but two days later his condition deteriorated with a high temperature which left him violently shaking. 

He said: “I was absolutely roasting, even though the house my freezing cold and all the windows were open. I was shaking non-stop and the fever was really taking its toll. 

“I still thought it could be a sickness bug but it kept getting worse and worse. I didn’t get a wink of sleep as I was just coughing and throwing up non-stop. At this point my fever was through the roof.” 

On Thursday that week, Ryan was taken to the A & E at Peterborough City hospital by paramedics and then transferred straight to the isolation ward. 

Initial tests taken at the hospital confirmed pneumonia for Ryan and was put on a drip and antibiotics - later swab tests confirmed he had coronavirus. 

Ryan said: “You see it on the news every day and you see people are dying. I thought I’m going to die here, which is a horrendous thought for someone in their 20s.” 

Over the days, Ryan’s condition worsened and he needed oxygen mask due to shortness of breath. Further tests and x-rays confirmed the virus had spread to his lungs making it difficult for him to breathe. He wore the mask for five days. 

By the end of last week, he was on the mend and discharged from hospital for self-isolation at home. He thanked all the staff members and his family for helping him to make it through. 

“I realised how real it was and my family was in pieces. I was laying there on my own and I didn’t think I was going to make it out of the hospital. I thought it was the end of the road for me. 

“I want to thank all the staff at the hospital as they were truly wonderful. I wouldn’t have been able to get through it without them and my family and wife.” 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation and imposed a number of new measures to try to halt the spread of the virus, and a series of TV adverts have also been launched. 

The official COVID-19 data for March 24, supplied by Public Health England, also shows that there are 37 confirmed cases in Cambridgeshire and 24 in Lincolnshire.  

In total across the UK there are 8,077 confirmed cases, up 1,427 from the 6,650 cases on Monday. There have been 135 patients making a recovery, and a total of 422 deaths, up from 355 on Monday. 

In Peterborough, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has doubled in 24 hours, from three up to six.